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Blue Cross Blue Shield sponsors health-career camp

Aug. 9, 2010

KALAMAZOO--A $15,000 grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan resulted in a summer camp at Western Michigan University that may have put a few highly talented, but underrepresented high school students on the fast track toward a career in health care.

Juniors and seniors from Kalamazoo Central, Fennville, Eau Claire and Benton Harbor high schools attended the camp earlier this summer on WMU's main campus. They were exposed to a multitude of health career opportunities and motivational sessions while staying in WMU residence halls and experiencing college life at a major university.

In addition, participants "had a lot of fun," says Melinda Lockett, academic adviser for the WMU College of Health and Human Services, who helped organize the camp.

The camp was held in cooperation with WMU's Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs initiative and Division of Multicultural Affairs. Representatives from the local health care community and BCBSM, as well as WMU professors and students in health-related fields, exposed students to health careers and gave them a better understanding of what it's like to work in the health care field. Activities also included touring the College of Health and Human Services building and a local hospital.

Students also got tips on maintaining their own health and witnessed firsthand what it's like to attend college.

"We helped them get connected and learn what to expect in the real world beyond high school," Lockett says. "They took away skills that will help them academically, get them involved with their communities and empower them in their future endeavors."

"Blue Cross is committed to leading Michigan to a healthier future, and this includes making sure we do our part to improve the economic health of our state," says Equilla Wainwright, BCBSM vice president of Diversity and Community Responsibility. "It means developing and retaining talent in Michigan and exposing young people to career opportunities in health care. Blue Cross is also actively engaged in targeting underrepresented populations in an effort to increase the diversity of our own workforce and to attract new talent to the industry at large."

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Media contact: Mark Schwerin, (269) 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

WMU News
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
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