4-H Youth Explore Health Care Careers

Nineteen local youth recently completed a three-day health career program held at Memorial Hospital in Easton.  University of Maryland Extension’s 4-H Adventures in Health Science Program stimulates youth interest in health careers and supports the National 4-H mission mandates of improving science literacy and promoting healthy lifestyles.

This year’s program theme was bones and muscles, and youth explored a variety of health career opportunities available on the Eastern Shore. Guided by 4-H staff and volunteers, participants interacted with Shore Health System professionals from hospital departments including The Joint Replacement Center, Emergency Medicine (EMT and Paramedic), Radiology, Physical Therapy, Clinical Nutrition, and Clinical Nursing.   They visited behind the scenes in hospital departments and learned about career fields from medical professionals who work in each department.

In addition to interacting with professionals, the youth performed numerous hands-on activities that helped them better understand health careers as well as improve their science skills. The activities included virtual hip replacement surgery, lifting a “pretend” fallen patient with a Liko lift, learning how pet therapy can uplift the spirits of severely ill patients, and investigating muscle and bone biology through dissection of chicken wings and a variety of games and puzzles.  At the conclusion of the program, 87% of youth participants stated that the program made them more interested in pursuing a health care career.

Many of the program participants are also members of the Talbot/Caroline 4-H Health Careers Club that meets regularly throughout the year.  Presently twenty- eight youth participate in the club.  The 4-H Program extends thanks to 4-H volunteers Sherry Councell of Shore Health System and Cyndi Slacum of the Eastern Shore Area Health Education Center for their enthusiastic support and connection to 4-H members.   Without this partnership, the 4-H club would not exist.

4-H is University of Maryland Extension’s youth development program.  All youth ages 5 to 18 are eligible to participate in 4-H, and youth ages 10 to 18 are invited to join the Health Careers Club.  All Extension programs are “Equal access/Equal Opportunity.”  For interested Dorchester County residents, there is also a new health careers club that meets at Dorchester General Hospital. Please call Talbot County Extension at (410) 822-1244 if you have questions or would like to join either club.