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Pharmacy camp gives teens a head start on health careers

July 18, 2018

The Texas A&M Coastal Bend Health Education Center hosted its annual Health Careers Discovery Camp for 18 high school students who are interested in pursuing a career in health care.

Held at the Texas A&M Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy, this year’s camp focused on pharmacy and health sciences. Students toured the campus, received in-depth information about the pharmacy profession and learned of a program that helps qualified applicants pay for their medical education. They also participated in a disaster scenario where they learned how to respond in a health crisis.

“The pharmacy profession is more than filling prescriptions,” said Delia Martinez, program coordinator for the center. “We’re teaching these students that pharmacists can work in hospitals and clinics and pharmacists can do research on the latest drug treatments.”

“I learned that pharmacists do more than fill bottles at Walmart,” said one camp participant who says she would like to pursue a pharmacy degree. “This camp taught me about nuclear and compounding pharmacy.”

Nuclear pharmacy deals with dispensing patient-specific medicine for diagnostic imaging and therapy in hospitals and outpatient clinics. Compound pharmacists also prepare personalized medications for patient treatment.

Camp participants received information about the Joint Admission Medical Program (JAMP), a partnership between Texas medical schools and private four-year universities to support very qualified, yet economically disadvantaged, students who are working toward a medical education.

“At first, I wanted a bachelor’s degree in nursing,” said another camp participant. “After learning about JAMP, I think I’ll be able to afford a master’s.”

Students also participated in a disaster drill where they learned ways to help in health emergencies. A representative from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Strategic National Stockpile had the participants work in stations that simulated triage and administrative tasks.

-Les Cockrell