Girls Inc. has opened up an opportunity for young girls to be exposed to the healthcare profession through the new “Healthy Futures Academy.”
The academy, according to CEO Tish Correa Osborne, essentially allows girls to become health care interns, learning directly from local healthcare professions about different topics.
They will range from assisting with injuries, visiting local health care facilities and learning about different medical tools and equipment.
Girls will also learn how to perform first aid and CPR.
The goal, according to Whitney Galloway, executive operations assistant with Girls Inc., is to, “build interest and skills in personal health and safety to prevent future healthcare issues while building interest and knowledge in the health care industry and possible careers in the future.”
The program is meant, according to Galloway, to motivate and educate girls in Daviess County to learn more about their own bodies and the challenges facing the health care system now and in the future due to highly preventable diseases and chronic conditions.
Prevention, education and safety were referenced numerous times as an identified community need to offset issues the health care industry is currently facing.
The program would also help educate the girls as to the community healthcare system and best practices to access the system when needed, to prevent the high rate of emergency room utilization.
The project includes prevention activities, participation in national Girls Inc. curriculum, exercise and mindfulness sessions and experiences, field trips to learn about health care access points in the community, and developing a better understanding of healthy outcomes through facts and figures and research.
Girls will also research and provide posters they create for a healthcare showcase and learn to utilize some tools of the healthcare trades during their tenure as students and then ultimately healthcare interns.
The program will culminate with a graduation of all the interns come May.
“These girls are truly excited to learn,” Galloway said. “We have had parents waiting at the door because their child wasn’t ready to leave yet. We had one girl announce during HFA that she may have found her second profession, lawyer being her first choice.”
To participate in the academy, girls were asked to write an essay describing why they wished to learn more about health care professions.
Ava Douglas, 9, said she wanted to become a nurse so that she could help her family members when they are sick or hurt.
“I have … been dreaming of becoming a nurse,” she said. “My cousin is a nurse and she has taught me things like treating cuts and burns and CPR. I want to do X-rays on bones and learn more about CPR and I hope I get into med-school or any type of school for a nurse.”
Another Healthy Futures intern said she wanted to be accepted into the academy to eventually be able to treat cancer patients.
“I want to help with cancer … because my dad, he had blood cancer a few months ago and I wanted to help, but I did not know how,” she said.
Correa Osborne said the academy is a way to expose young girls to career opportunities and help cultivate their interests early on.
“This program is one of my favorites because I am fascinated with health care,” she said. “It is so important for girls or anyone for that matter, to be exposed to different fields at young ages. We always want people to know what they want to be early on, yet we don’t do enough to expose them to things they may not ever have considered.”
Christie Netherton, The Messenger-Inquirer