Capital Region Teens Introduced to Medical Field During Summer Program

As children head back to school, 14 Capital Region high school students are returning with newfound knowledge of the medical field. The teens took part in a three-day medical educational program--a chance to get hands-on experience and learn an important message from Albany Medical Center professionals.

One day, you could work with us.

Organized by Albany Medical Center’s Emergency Medicine staff, The EMmersion summer camp was held July 19-21 at Albany High School’s Abrookin Career and Technical Center. Students gained experience through approximately 20 hands-on and simulated activities such as conducting ultrasounds, patient interviews, and managing and treating fractures and received certification through Stop the Bleed trauma training.

The program also gave students the opportunity to learn professional and workforce skills, and access to team members from Albany Medical Center, who volunteered their time to pass along their thoughts and advice to the students, even sitting with students during scheduled lunch breaks.

“The overall thought was to show students who didn’t necessarily have access to a doctor or physician assistant (in their lives)– or who didn’t think a career in health care could be a possibility – that it is,” said Pamela Young, PA-C, who works in the Emergency Department.

The idea for the camp first came up in 2020 in a conversation between Denis Pauzé, MD, Chair of Emergency Medicine, and his son, and was organized through the efforts of the Emergency Department’s DEI Committee.

“We wanted to expose these bright and talented high school students to the medical field with all of its wonderful opportunities, and hopefully inspire them to have a career in medicine,” said Dr. Pauzé. “Pam, Dr. Dorcas Pinto, and our Emergency Department team did a fabulous job organizing this exciting event.”

The impact was clear – one parent wrote to the team to express that the students “will remember these three days for the rest of their lives.”

Along with providing hands-on experience, the Albany Medical Center team presenting the camp remain committed to staying connected with the students to offer mentorship, guidance, and advice. Young and the team stayed true to their mission of wanting to help the students gain confidence, but to also support them and any potential aspirations they have to become the health care leaders of tomorrow.

“There are other programs that put students in touch, but I’ve never heard of a program that goes this deep,” Young said. “I think a lot of programs focus on that person who wants to be a doctor. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I feel like there’s a real gap for the students who just want someone to give them a shot at a job in the medical field.”

Young and Dr. Pauzé say their team is looking to engage more area high school students through virtual and in-person opportunities going forward, as well as to enhance the hands-on summer camp next year.