By Kate Hunger
In an effort to increase awareness about health professions careers among high school students, the School of Health Professions Office of Admissions hosted a virtual open house to celebrate Allied Health Week 2021.
The Office of Recruitment and Science Outreach helped organize and promote the open house, held via Zoom on Nov. 5. About 160 high school students from around the San Antonio area attended the event, said School of Health Professions Director of Admissions and Special Programs Melina Dauto Benavidez.
The program consisted of an overview of all health professions, followed by interactive breakout sessions led by School of Health Professions students, who also helped plan the event, create content for the sessions and facilitate activities and presentations.
“The goal of the event was to raise awareness about health professions at the school, including their educational track and a day in the life of a professional in these fields,” Benavidez said, adding that the event also helped to promote UT Health San Antonio and the School of Health Professions. “Each of our programs emphasizes community outreach, and this event helped us reach future health professionals.”
Emily Tate, a first-year OTD student, led the breakout session called “Occupational Therapy Life of a Student” with an activity on understanding an injury and adaptive equipment.
“Many people have never even heard of this profession, so I hope that the students learned what OTs do and how they interact with other health care professionals,” said Tate, who didn’t learn about occupational therapy until she was in college.
“I was actually shadowing a physical therapist and then got to witness an OT work with a kid as well and fall in love with their approach.”
Second-year respiratory care master’s student Michael Ruiz led a straw-breathing activity to demonstrate how patients breathe with certain respiratory conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). He wanted students to learn about the variety of expertise respiratory therapists have.
“I wanted the students to understand that RTs do more than just administer inhalers and deal with COVID-19,” he said. “I wanted them to see that we have different respiratory patients and that we are the specialists in the field through the education that we received.”