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UW Camp Reinforces LaGrange Students’ Health Care Career Plans

August 3, 2015
two young women in scrubs practicing IV techniques at a table
Arely Payan, of LaGrange, practices giving an IV that gets drilled into a patient’s bone to quickly give fluids or medications. She learned about a variety of health care disciplines during the recent AHEC Health Care Careers Summer Camp at UW. (UW Photo)

If LaGrange students Arely Payan and Chloe Haas had any doubts about what careers they wanted to pursue, they both know now that health care is right for them.

They were among students attending the Wyoming Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Health Care Careers Summer Camp at the University of Wyoming. Both learned about the requirements necessary to pursue a health care career as well as the numerous job opportunities that will be available throughout Wyoming upon completion of their training.

At the UW camp, the students were exposed to careers in such fields as nursing, pharmacy, medicine, surgical technology, speech-language pathology, optometry, dental hygiene, radiography and ultrasonography. Activities took place on the UW campus, Laramie’s Ivinson Memorial Hospital, Snowy Range Vision Center and at Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne.  More than 40 local health care workers volunteered their time to teach campers about their chosen professions.

“I may not know exactly what I want to do at the moment, but I definitely know I want to be a part of a health care career,” Payan says. “All of these careers are so beneficial. Helping others is my first priority because it is such a good feeling. Although I know that it'll become hard sometimes, school-wise and emotionally, I am prepared to take on this career.”

Haas adds, “This camp seriously benefited me and solidified my decision to work in the health care field. I have found a career that is exactly what I want to do.”

Students had opportunities to suture (with chicken breasts); make medicated balm; make a cast; perform an ultrasound-guided “biopsy”; give injections (into simulated skins); and operate a laparoscope, an instrument used to examine abdominal or pelvic organs.

two young women in hospital room practicing injections in simulated skin block“Wyoming is facing a critical shortage of health care workers. Camp sponsors hope that opportunities like this will motivate students to consider pursuing health care careers,” says Marivern Easton, Wyoming AHEC program director and UW College of Health Sciences WWAMI medical education program assistant director. “The shortage will worsen as the baby boomer generation ages.”

Each Wyoming county is dealing with shortages in primary care and mental health, and many face shortages of dentists and other health care professionals. The key, Easton says, is to identify, recruit, train and retain Wyoming residents.

“If we can generate enthusiasm among high school-aged students and support them as they pursue education and training opportunities, we have a much stronger possibility of eventually employing them as health care workers throughout Wyoming,” she adds.

Payan says the camp demonstrated that UW offers a quality educational experience in health care.

“There is no doubt in my mind that I will be attending the University of Wyoming,” she says. “There is so much to offer here for your career; there is always so much to do. So many people are there to help you, and the campus has everything you need to succeed.”

The camp is sponsored by the Wyoming AHEC, UW College of Health Sciences, WWAMI (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho) medical education program, Wyoming Office of Rural Health, Laramie County Community College, Wyoming Center for Nursing and Health Care Partnerships, Snowy Range Vision Center and Ivinson Memorial Hospital.

For more information about the summer camp, call Easton at (307) 766-6751 or see

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