University of Vermont

College of Medicine

AHEC’s MedQuest Health Careers Program Brings Highschoolers to UVM and Other State Campuses

UVM medical students and MedQuest participants
UVM medical students assist with a visit by MedQuest health career campers to the Pathology Lab at the UVM College of Medicine in June. Associate Professor of Pathology Pamela Gibson, M.D., instructs the campers. (Photo by Ed Neuert)

Teens from Vermont’s Addison, Chittenden, Grand Isle and Franklin counties took up residence at the University of Vermont the week of June 23 to 28, 2013 for the first of two summer MedQuest programs run by the Champlain Valley Area Health Education Center (AHEC). The same week, another group of teens from Bennington, Rutland, Windham, and Windsor Counties lived on campus at Southern Vermont College in Bennington for MedQuest “West.” In addition, students from across the state participated in the Advanced MedQuest program at UVM run by Southern Vermont AHEC the week of June 16 to 21, 2013.

Every summer, all three Vermont AHEC offices – Champlain Valley, Southern Vermont, and Northeastern Vermont – offer MedQuest, a rigorously structured, educational, one-week residential summer session for high school students interested in gaining in-depth exposure to health care careers that includes lectures, tours, and job shadows. Attendees live on a college campus and receive a wide variety of education and training, as well as participate in interactive presentations, job shadowing and leadership-building activities in the community.

UVM medical students assist as leaders for the program, serving as teachers and role models and providing chaperoning for attendees. At the recent Champlain Valley AHEC MedQuest session, UVM College of Medicine Class of 2016 members Dan Haddad, Janel Martir, Kelsey Preston and Richard Smith worked as Medical Student Leaders.

According to CVAHEC’s Health Careers Program Coordinator Jocie Mueller, high school students participating in the first 2013 MedQuest session were involved in a number of presentations and activities on and off the UVM College of Medicine campus. On Monday, June 24, students engaged in hands-on “Diminishing Faculties” workshops. Tuesday evening, they were trained in “Basic Medical Skills” in workshops held in the College’s Medical Education Center. Weekday activities included either presentations in the Sullivan Classroom or shadowing trips to healthcare practices in Middlebury, Essex, Winooski, or St. Albans, Vt. On-campus weekday events also included sessions in the Pathology Lab in the College’s Given building, where students examined organ specimens, and interactive learning in the UVM/Fletcher Allen Clinical Simulation Laboratory in UVM’s Rowell building.

The goal of AHEC’s MedQuest program is to develop, through interactive presentations and job shadowing experiences at local hospitals or within the communities, students’ leadership skills, knowledge about the community and continuing education resources, and a clearer understanding of the health care field and how they can enter into such a career.

Based at the UVM College of Medicine, the Vermont AHEC Program collaborates with partners across the state to improve access to quality healthcare through a focus on workforce development. This includes pipeline programs in health careers awareness and exploration for youth in communities across the state; support for and engagement of health professions students at the University of Vermont and residents at Fletcher Allen Health Care; and programs designed to recruit and retain the healthcare workforce in Vermont.

CVAHEC’s next MedQuest session will take place at UVM July 7 to 12, 2013. Northeastern AHEC’s MedQuest program, which service students from Caledonia, Essex, Lamoille, Orange, Orleans, Washington counties, takes place at Lyndon State College from Jul 14 to 19, 2013. Southern Vermont AHEC’s MedQuest “East” session takes place July 28 to August 2, 2013 at the School for International Training in Brattleboro, Vt.

Learn more about the Office of Primary Care and AHEC Program at UVM.