The Albany Medical Center Department of Emergency Medicine EMmersion Boot Camp Experience: Encouraging URiM Students to Pursue a Career in Medicine

Fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion in the PA and health professions is crucial for equitable care.  Grant recipients Pamela Y. Young, PA-C, Sara DeSanctis, MHS, PA-C, and Jennifer Pelesz, PA-C are striving to bridge the gap between the population served at Albany Medical Center and the demographic makeup of its providers.

Through AMC’s Department of Emergency Medicine, Young led a team to encourage urban high school students who are historically underrepresented in medicine (URiM) to explore health profession careers.

“One of my goals as a PA and the goal of this project’s multidisciplinary task force is to encourage children who have been underrepresented to see themselves in our shoes and recognize that they too can one day provide care and increase the long-term health of their community,” said Young.

The pilot project included intensive boot camps, allowing students to interact with providers, participate in workshops, learn basic first aid skills, and participate in career fairs.  Three sessions in 2021-2022 allowed nearly 50 high school students to participate.

One boot camp participant returned to AMC as an intern before enrolling at Case Western University in the Fall of 2022.  Two summer interns are anticipated in January 2023 following the most recent boot camp.

The boot camps were also impactful for participating providers who described the experience as “refreshing and engaging” and that “it reminded many of why we went into medicine.”

Plans are underway for outreach to local middle schools, additional boot camps for high school students, and the development of longitudinal experience to facilitate students returning for additional patient contract hours.

“The goal is to plant the idea of medicine as a career as early as possible,” said Young.

The Health Foundation is glad to support this PA-led, multidisciplinary project and its efforts to promote the PA profession and health careers to historically underrepresented youth.

This project was supported by the Kathy J. Pedersen Grant to Promote Equitable Care.

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