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Cristo Rey
Robert Churchill, MD, Hugh E. and Sarah D. Stephenson Dean of the MU School of Medicine, center left, and Ellis Ingram, MD, senior associate dean for diversity and inclusion, join 16 MU Cristo Rey Health Professions Summit participants at the Russell D. and Mary B. Shelden Clinical Simulation Center. Click here to view more photos

Minority Students Try on Careers at MU Health Professions Summit

Cristo Rey High School students participate in hands-on activities and job shadowing

Sixteen black and Latino high school students had the opportunity to try on careers in the health professions during the University of Missouri's third annual Cristo Rey Health Professions Summit from June 13 to June 16, 2010.

"Building this relationship with students early on is just one of the ways we're working to attract a more diverse group of health care professionals to effectively mirror Missouri's population," said Ellis Ingram, MD, senior associate dean for diversity and inclusion at the MU School of Medicine. "We want to not only encourage these students to consider careers in the health professions, but also to think of MU as a place where they can come to achieve their goals."

In the program sponsored by MU's Area Health Education Center, students from Cristo Rey High School in midtown Kansas City spent three days rotating through activities and informational sessions hosted by the MU School of Medicine, Sinclair School of Nursing, School of Health Professions, and West Central Missouri Area Health Education Center.

At the medical school's Russell D. and Mary B. Shelden Clinical Simulation Center, students rotated through various simulation activities where they inserted IVs, measured vital signs, performed laparoscopic surgery and delivered a baby. At the nursing school, students practiced physical exams, patient transfers and injections. At the School of Health Professions, students experienced therapies related to the various disciplines offered by the school, including gait analysis, a mirror-image writing exercise and an ultrasound. Students also participated in summer welcome activities.

The connection maintained by year-round activities offered by the West Central Missouri AHEC is already working. Four students who took part in last year's summit returned this year as student leaders and mentors to 12 new students. The returning students had the opportunity to shadow health care experts in their specific professions of interest. Two Cristo Rey students from last year's summit also attended the medical school's weeklong mini medical school experience in July.

Cristo Rey is a college preparatory high school sponsored by the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, Kan. It allows students to participate in work-study as employees of participating businesses to offset the cost of their tuition. All 60 students of the Cristo Rey Class of 2010 will attend college in the fall. Of that group, 87 percent will be the first members of their families to attend college.

Participating in the MU health summit is one way that the university's many first-generation and minority college students are able to interact with health care professionals and get a taste of what it would be like to attend MU, said Kathleen Quinn, PhD, director of MU-AHEC, who has helped build a partnership with the university.

"We have so many students interested in health care careers. Getting them to MU and allowing them to have hands-on experience with the different disciplines really helps them see what their options are," Quinn said. "It's opening up a whole world of what's available to them."

For more information about AHEC, please see For additional information about Cristo Rey High School, visit
MU Health Magazine


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