A new Student Health Care Board program is providing hands-on learning for Miami High School students through Integris.

MIAMI – Newborns that fit in the palm of a hand, helicopter life-flights, bone drills, amputations, and high school students. While that may sound like a soundbite for a new prime-time medical drama, it was just the highlights of an exciting hands-on program now available to Miami High School juniors through Integris.

Jordan Barlow, Population Health Coordinator for Integris Miami Hospital, met with MHS sophomores Tuesday to share information about the hospital's Student Health Care Board, a student exposure program that sought its first applicants last March and is modeled in part after a program at Integris Grove Hosptial.

Barlow said the Grove program has been running since 2000 and has had around 75 students return to Integris as employees, crediting their exposure through the initiative.

Inspired to offer the same to Miami students, Barlow set to work building a Student Health Care Board program that was presented for the first time to MHS sophomores last spring to apply for participation during their junior academic year this past fall.

For the program's inaugural year, 20 applicants were selected to move through a formal interview process that served as much as a learning tool as a selection process with facilitators providing guidance and feedback. Of those, 18 were ultimately selected to become a part of the program's first cohort.

Students invited to be on the Miami Student Health Care Board use hours available during early release days at school to get an inside look and hands-on learning of hospital functions from administration to emergency services.

"We wanted the students to get more of a hands-on experience and gain perspective that a lot of the public often doesn't see unless they are patients of a specific service," said Barlow. "If you think about it, whenever we're sick, we don't feel good and we don't want to be there anyway, so I think when you are in a hospital and you are well you are really able to see how things orchestrate."

Barlow said the program's first round of cohorts were varied in their interests and motivations for participating, some being very classically science and math oriented, while others had leanings toward administration and business and more.

"We had some who were very clear in wanting to do things like surgery, but others like one participant whose interest was in becoming a veterinarian and one young man who was very business focused," said Barlow. "It also showed some of them things they may have never even considered, like how you can start in high school on a path to being a paramedic."

Barlow explained that over the course of the program Student Health Care Board members met with hospital administration such as Integris Miami President, Jonas Rabel, and Vice President/Chief Nursing Officer, Lisa Halstead, who gave a brief introduction to what they do for Integris and their journey into health care.

Students also spent time with members of the Integris Emergency Medical Services (EMS) group, Registered Nurse Kace Calan a Team Lead in the Emergency Department, and the hospital's Community Wellness educator Whitney McGhee.

Barlow said the program was also able to coordinate a visit from Midwest Aerocare that landed a helicopter so students could get a close up look at what it’s like to work in air-medical services.

Later in the program, the Miami students joined Grove and Jay program members for a trip to Oklahoma City to tour larger Integris sites visiting the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit), Burn Center, and Pathology, where they were able to view severed limbs and recently removed organs.

Sharing the experiences of this first cohort with sophomores this week, Barlow invited students to apply for the program's second round beginning next fall and said she is excited for what is ahead as the program continues to evolve and be refined.

Dorothy Ballard is the managing news editor for the Miami News-Record. Email her at dballard@miaminewsrecord.com and follow her on Twitter @dm_ballard.