By Tara Cavanaugh
Each year the Ann Arbor / Ypsilanti Regional Chamber of Commerce gives out E3 Awards that recognize educational programs or educators for their “exemplary education endeavors.”
The AAPS Health Science Program was honored with an E3 Award at the chamber’s “Early Edition” breakfast meeting Wednesday. The program was given a trophy and a $250 cash prize provided by Janowiack Funeral Homes.
The Health Program, which has been around for 33 years, offers an educational and professional course to high school seniors who aspire to work in health care. The course first schools the students in advanced anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology. During their second semester, students experience six clinical rotations over 12 weeks.
Students work in their rotation for two hours a day, four days a week during that semester. The program offers more than 100 clinical placements in local hospitals and clinics.
“We customize schedules to give them the most taste of their particular interest, but we also make sure to give them a broad experience,” said Cathy Mallete, a registered nurse who has taught the course for seven years.
“I wanted to do pediatrics, so I was expecting only (clinical rotations in) pediatrics,” said student Mindzee Mbala-Nkang. “I got a lot of experience with cardiothoracic pediatrics, and just last week I was in physical therapy pediatrics, so you really get a variety of opportunities to see a lot of things,” she said. She also did clinical rotations in labor and delivery at St. Joseph Hospital and at an outpatient opthalmology clinic.
“It’s a good class to take senior year because not only does it challenge you, but it’s seriously a big preparation for your future,” said student Becca Bilich.
Bilich is going to U-M this fall to study biomedical engineering. Mbala-Nkang is attending Kalamazoo College to study anthropology and focus on premed.
Just 100 students are admitted into the program at Pioneer and Huron each year. Previous graduates of the program often return to visit their health science program teachers, sharing their experiences about medical school, taking the MCAT and working in hospitals.
Lynn Boland, who has taught the course for four years, said other schools have similar health programs, but the AAPS program rises above the rest. “We’re the envy of our colleagues in the state of Michigan because we have so many resources here: St. Joe’s, U-M, Mott, the VA, private offices and clinics.”
“These health professionals make an investment of their time and resources,” said Mallete. “They know our students are the next generation of healthcare providers, and we all want them to take care of us in a way that will make us happy.”