The Central New York Area Health Education Center (CNYAHEC) held its 3rd Annual Healthcare Olympiad competition at SUNY Upstate Medical University on Saturday, March 15th to promote interest among high school students in pursuing healthcare careers.
Twelve teams including over 50 high school students drawn from CNYAHEC’s 14-county Central New York service area spent the last three months working with local healthcare professionals, teachers and other team advisors to develop solutions to real-life healthcare issues in their community. On Saturday their projects were presented to a panel of four judges drawn from Upstate Medical University faculty and area public health professionals.
According to John North, CNYAHEC’s Program Coordinator, the purpose of the Healthcare Olympiad is to expose students to the full range of healthcare careers and to do so by requiring teams to address healthcare issues from an interdisciplinary team perspective. “Many healthcare careers are not well known and understood, so in order to help students explore options beyond careers as physicians and nurses, we structured the competition in a way that would require them to look deeper,” said North, adding “The students far exceeded our expectations, with teams addressing healthcare issues in mock roles as public health leaders, business analysts, health information technologists, case managers and many other career roles.”
The Baker High School team from Baldwinsville, NY addressed the topic of “Teen Anxiety” and was awarded first place and a $1,000 scholarship, sponsored by Excellus Blue Cross/Blue Shield. The team not only researched the topic but created a solution within their school district through the formation of an after school club, aptly named, Cloud Nine. Team member, Alex Traverse, states “We want to make [our classmates] feel relaxed and part of a community.”
Other contest winners were:
2nd Place: Broome Tioga BOCES, for “Social Networking Addiction.”
3rd Place: Walton High School, for “High Rates of Obesity in Students and Adults.” 4th Place: Oswego BOCES, for “Obesity Related Diabetes.”
Based in Cortland, CNYAHEC is part of the national Area Health Education System whose mission is to increase the supply of the healthcare workforce, particularly for rural and underserved areas, and to provide continuing education for healthcare professionals. The Healthcare Olympiad is an annual event. For more information please contact John North at 607-756-1090 or visit www.cnyahec.org.