Recently, SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) welcomed sixteen Alaska Native/American Indian high school students to learn about health careers. The students participated in the 2017 Ethel Lund Village Health Occupations Program (VHOP) that took place from April 10 – 13 in Sitka.
Each year, the Southeast-area Native students selected by SEARHC for VHOP spend nearly a week at the SEARHC Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital learning about different health careers and educational opportunities in healthcare. This year’s group is the second largest to date and represented Angoon, Craig, Wrangell, and several other regions in the state through the participation of students from Mt. Edgecumbe High School.
Students job-shadowed in various departments and spent some time with the UAS-Sitka nursing program faculty. The 4-day program at SEARHC closed with each student delivering a speech about what they learned and what they especially enjoyed while participating in VHOP.
“It has been a pleasure to have these students shadow and learn from our Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital staff as well as other professionals from SEARHC. The students showed high levels interest and enthusiasm for a variety of health care careers as the week progressed,” said SEARHC Tribal Recruiter, Freddie Olin. “The students’ interest and commitment to learning was well received by our hospital staff and created a positive experience for everyone involved.”
Professional opportunities with healthcare are growing at a rapid pace creating job opportunities for those with the right training. Health-related jobs offer rewarding careers with excellent compensation and benefits, as well as job stability. The goal of VHOP is to cultivate and encourage an interest in healthcare, with the goal that students become inspired to seek a future in healthcare.