• Sara Doan, Northeast Arkansas News

NYITCOM hosts Project H.E.A.R.T. annual summer camp


JONESBORO, Ark- The New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State hosts Project H.E.A.R.T. this week.


The four-day, three-night summer camp introduces 30 high school junior and seniors to the STEM and medical field, while showing campers career paths available to them.


Project H.E.A.R.T. (Health Education, Advocacy, Reflection, and Training) is geared toward students interested in a career in healthcare by broadening their knowledge of the field.


One camper from Mississippi County knew she wanted to be part of project heart after hearing about the program at school.


“I want to help others. I love people. And I knew that [Project HEART] would be perfect for me to do,” Rivercrest High School student Hadleigh Bell said. “It’s actually exactly what I want to do. I want to be a D.O., and I’m thinking- I want to specialize in pediatrics.”


Bell says after doing her research, the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree route sparked her interest.


Casey Pearce, director of external relations at NYIT, says campers receive hands-on instruction, and learn what it’s like to work in a healthcare setting. Campers also get an inside peek into two medical institutions in the region: St. Bernards Medical Center and NEA Baptist Hospital.


“Today, they went through a suture workshop where they learned to give stitches on a silicon pad that feels like skin. Yesterday they dissected a pig heart in our anatomy lab. And they learned to place IV’s and intubate on test trainers. So, it’s some really cool interactive activities where they get to see what it’s like,” Pearce said.


Campers get to see what a day in the life of a medical student is like, as current NYIT student doctors serve as the camp counselors. Bell says it's eye-opening getting to learn alongside them and ask questions. While also getting out of her comfort zone.


“When it comes to like surgery, and things like that, that’s just been stuff that I always assumed I wouldn’t be good at, and today, getting to sit down and actually learn how to do stitches and things like that, I realized that if I put my mind to it, and really focus, and apply myself, I can actually do it. So, I’m excited to see what all I can learn,” she said.


Campers stay in dorms on the Arkansas State campus, while learning about opportunities in the region, and the college admissions process.


“It’s great to show them [that] this opportunity exists in Jonesboro on the A-State campus to pursue a career in healthcare,” Pearce continued. “Whether that be through being a nursing student at Arkansas State or the health professions path there. Or specifically to become a physician through our program here at NYITCOM, at A-State.”


Campers had to apply to be part of Project H.E.A.R.T.- thanks to donors and sponsors, the summer camp is free to attend.

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