Radford University joins New River Community College to support Health Sciences Camp

Assistant Professor and Director of the JCHS Respiratory Therapy program Chase Poulsen, Ph.D., (left) explains the workings of the respiratory system during his presentation to the students from the 2019 Health Sciences Camp during their visit to Radford University.

To inspire future healthcare professionals, Radford University welcomed a group of high school students on June 11 from the 2019 Health Sciences Camp, hosted by New River Community College (NRCC).

Nine Radford University faculty members introduced their specialties and professions to the 24 health science campers from across the New River Valley.  The faculty presenters represent Radford’s Waldron College of Health and Human Services, Artis College of Science and Technology, College of Visual and Performing Arts, and the College of Education and Human Development. Faculty from Jefferson College of Health Sciences (JCHS), which will soon become Radford University Carilion (RUC) pending completion of the merger, also served as camp presenters.

“We are excited to partner with New River Community College to support the introduction of these disciplines and potential career paths to students through an innovative interprofessional collaboration,” said Corey Cassidy, Ph.D., associate dean of Waldron College.

Joining Cassidy as presenters during the campers’ day-long visit to Radford were:
•    Andi Bender, M.S., instructor of Health and Human Performance;
•    J.C. Cook, Ed.D., assistant professor and director of the JCHS Emergency Medical Services (EMS) program;
•    Sheila Krajnik, Ed.D., associate professor of Occupational Therapy
•    Laura Link, assistant professor and director of the JCHS Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) program;
•    Chase Poulsen, Ph.D., assistant professor and director of the JCHS Respiratory Therapy (RT) program;
•    Diane Shepard, M.S., instructor of Communication Sciences and Disorders;
•    Kerry Vandergrift, Ph.D., associate professor of Social Work; and
•    Trish Winter, Ph.D., associate professor of Music and director of the Music Therapy concentration.

NRCC’s Health Sciences Camp is a week-long interactive experience for high school students to learn about the expanding field of health sciences and related career paths.

“The camp encourages young people in the area to develop an interest, explore and gain knowledge about the fields,” said NRCC’s Stephanie Addikis, who along with NRCC Assistant Professor of Nursing Jean Cintron are the Health Sciences Camp co-directors. “In this region, there is a real need for healthcare professionals.” 

Cintron added that the camp’s objective was to “open the students’ eyes to the life of a healthcare provider interactively through a full range of hands-on experiences.”

Director Cindy Cunningham and the staff of the Clinical Simulation Center (CSC) introduced the campers to a variety of medical and healthcare experiences. The students confronted real-life healthcare situations, such as illness, injury and pregnancy. The CSC is used by regional nursing students who are then debriefed through the use of video feedback and reflection.  

The camp explored a diverse range of healthcare careers and the associated educational opportunities. Winter talked about how music is used therapeutically with patients from across the lifespan and Bender introduced athletic training as a fast-evolving healthcare profession that can range from emergency care to therapeutic intervention and rehabilitation.

“There are many careers in which these young people can make a difference,” said Link. “The MLS program is one that will introduce them to a hidden piece that touches patients through their cells and their blood. The program is a good fit for students who are looking for an exciting career in which advances occur daily.”

Poulsen welcomed the opportunity to introduce the RT program that prepares students for a profession for which there is a critical need.

“The demand for RT professionals cannot be filled,” Poulsen said. “Post-graduation salaries can be high and respiratory therapy can be a solid springboard to other professions in healthcare.”

Poulsen, Link and Cook represent existing JCHS programs offered in Roanoke that are in the process of being merged into Radford University and will become part of Radford University Carilion.

Radford University Carilion will be a healthcare educational site, located on the Carilion Medical Center campus and will be part of Roanoke’s Innovation Corridor. The RUC brand reflects the unique health sciences educational experience that Radford University provides to students and is founded upon an enduring and evolving 30-year partnership with Carilion Clinic.

Cassidy closed the event by encouraging students to consider the many health sciences fields, as potential career paths and as ways to give back. "Thank you for joining us to experience these fields. There are a lot of opportunities for good jobs that help others," Cassidy said.

Jun 10, 2019
Don Bowman
(540) 831-5182