AHEC - North Carolina Area Health Education Centers Program
Touched by an AHEC: Stories from 100 Counties


Union County | Charlotte AHEC

Pharmacy Focused Health Careers Camp: A Huge Success

In June of 2009, Charlotte AHEC and Wingate School of Pharmacy in Wingate, NC partnered to produce its first pharmacy-focused health careers camp. The week-long residential camp was composed of high school students that were interested in a career in health care. Twenty-five out of 55 students were hand-selected to participate. Sixteen towns and six ethnicities were represented with 90% of the students from underrepresented backgrounds.

Students participated in a variety of hands-on learning experiences including: pharmacy compounding lab, patient assessment lab, CPR certification, and suturing lab. Students were also assigned research projects on diseases and issues that effect minority populations in North Carolina. "This is an exciting way for students to have face-to-face time with actual college professional and students," said Michelle Boyd, MS, Charlotte AHEC education specialist. The entire staff at Wingate School of Pharmacy was excited about this program and welcomed the students with open arms.

The counselors were carefully selected. "We decided to use our pharmacy students as counselors for the campers. The response from the pharmacy students was tremendous." Says Dr. Carolyn Ford, professor and assistant dean of students, Wingate School of Pharmacy. Six pharmacy students were selected to spend the week with the students - one of the students being the student body president. Who better to talk to students about the pharmacy program and why they chose this career? The counselors raved about working with the students and shared stories about staying up late at night having informal conversations about setting goals and not letting obstacles deter you from your dream.

The camp was a jaw-dropping success. During the student presentations on the last day of the camp, students reported they were not aware of all of the career possibilities that lie within a career in pharmacy. Several decided the switch their career choice. Plans to host the camp again in 2010 are underway.