North Carolina AHEC Program
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Two Students Follow the NC AHEC Pipeline to HAPI-ness

Chanel Blaylock and Ashley Rogers spent the summer of 2012 as ambassadors for the Allied Health professions. As interns for The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Health Affairs Pipeline Initiative (HAPI), the two students served as prime examples of a successful pipeline experience using the NC Area Health Education Centers (NC AHEC) Health Careers program.

What is HAPI? HAPI is a new collaboration from the health affairs schools at UNC-Chapel Hill with the goal to increase retention of underrepresented minority students at UNC-Chapel Hill in health careers. HAPI helps high school and undergraduate university students who seek information on health affairs degrees and health career pipeline programs.

Blaylock and Rogers

And how did Blaylock and Rogers (left and right, photo above) get involved?

Chanel Blaylock, a Raleigh, NC, native, began in middle school with a camp at UNC-Chapel Hill, followed by high school Health Careers Saturday Academy classes through Wake AHEC. She also took part in the Science Enrichment Program (SEP) and the Health Careers Access Program. Blaylock graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in May 2012 with a degree in communication studies with a concentration in speech and hearing sciences, and is continuing her pipeline experience as a master’s degree student in speech pathology at UNC-Chapel Hill.

A native of Cary, NC, Ashley Rogers took part in the Wake AHEC/UNC Carolina Vision summer camps as a middle and high school student. She continued with Project Uplift (a special program that enables high-achieving rising seniors to experience college life on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus) and the Health Occupations Students of America. A 2011 graduate of North Carolina Central University, she is now in her second year of the communication sciences and disorders program at Howard University.

They both became involved in HAPI through two mentors: Jacqueline Rollins Wynn, MPH, associate director at NC AHEC, and Brenda Mitchell, MS, associate chair of the Department of Allied Health Sciences Office of Student Services and AHEC Operations at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Over the summer, Rogers and Blaylock worked with the Department of Allied Health Sciences and the Schools of Nursing, Pharmacy, Public Health, and Social Work to help each discipline reach out to students. As ambassadors, they spoke to students at NC AHEC’s Future Leaders in Healthcare conference, at SEP programs, and to guidance counselors around the state. They also developed a webpage (http://unchapi.wordpress.com/) and a Facebook page for the initiative.

“Because of these pipeline programs, we learned early on that to be in a health career doesn’t only mean being a physician,” said Rogers. “You can help people in many other ways, too… you just need to be exposed to different professions.”

Blaylock added, “Always continue to explore all your options and try to find a mentor!” Putting in a final word of advice, Rogers noted, “Make sure you job shadow! Find someone locally in a health sciences field and ask if you can spend a day with them to see what it’s really like.”