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University of Iowa News Release


April 5, 2011

Media Advisory: UI's Project HOPE inspires interest in health professions April 7

WHAT: A field trip as part of the University of Iowa College of Education's Project HOPE (Healthcare Occupations, Preparation, and Exploration), a career education bridging program that facilitates the exploration of health science professions for eighth grade students in rural Iowa middle schools with large Mexican immigrant populations.

WHO: Some 80 eighth graders from Columbus Community Middle School in Columbus Junction, Iowa, will visit the UI campus for a day of learning about health care professions from UI graduate students, faculty and staff. Saba Ali, a College of Education associate professor and admissions coordinator for the counseling psychology department, created and directs Project HOPE. The project is a collaboration between the UI College of Education and the UI Colleges of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy and Public Health, as well as UI Health Care, the Hardin Health Sciences Library, the State Hygienic Laboratory at the UI, the Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) and West Library and Columbus Community Schools.

WHEN: Thursday, April 7, with sessions running concurrently from 9:15 to 11:15 a.m. and from noon to 1:15 p.m.

WHERE: In various locations on the UI campus including: the Hardin Library, the Pharmacy Practice Laboratory, Seamans Center, the Hygienic Laboratory at the UI, the UI College of Dentistry, and Lindquist Center.

WHY: Health disparities are on the rise among minorities in Iowa, in part because of the lack of bilingual and ethnic diversity among health professionals. Project HOPE is a workforce/career development program that serves to interest minority and rural students early in their education in a health science career so they can better plan for a healthcare career. Weeklong career exploration activities coupled with the simulated health science experience provide the early exposure to these careers that students need to develop interests and think about the next academic steps toward planning for these careers.

BACKGROUND: During the two sessions, students will have the opportunity to do everything from learning about the human eye through participating in an interactive discussion and then stepping into the simulation lab to actually look into a prototype of the human eye with family medicine physicians and medical students to participate in hands-on activities as they learn about forensic, anatomy and technology (animated bones and bodies), neurology and clinical work with mock patients. They will also learn about "fill and drill" from a UI dental professor and will have the chance to be a dentist for a day by practicing filling-in teeth on prototypes and interacting with dental students, just to name a few examples of interactive activities.

For a complete schedule of events, contact Ali at 319-335-5495 or Lois J. Gray at 319-384-0077.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Saba Ali, College of Education, 319-335-5495 (office) or 319-594-3005 (cell); or Lois J. Gray, University New Services, 319-384-0077,