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Students participating in Augsburg's Metro Scrubs summer camp

Metro Scrubs program introduces high school students to health science careers

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When University alumni and community members step up to help make an Augsburg program succeed, everybody wins.

Since 2008, Augsburg University has hosted Metro Scrubs summer camps that offer high school students a glimpse into health science careers. Through workshops and hands-on activities, students gain insight into career paths that range from veterinary medicine and public health to physical therapy and nursing. The success of the weeklong program— formerly known as Urban Scrubs— hinges on faculty involvement and volunteer engagement through which working professionals teach workshops and mini-courses. This year, an Augsburg alumna and the parent of two Auggie alumni stepped in to offer their expertise—and to learn a thing or two from their pupils.

Jenny Kelley ’85 pursued a nursing degree after completing her Augsburg education and now serves as a nurse and asthma educator at the Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis. Kelley initiated a Metro Scrubs class by asking students to inhale and exhale through a narrow cocktail straw, an exercise that highlighted how difficult it is for someone with asthma to breathe. Kelley noticed that her students were from a diverse array of backgrounds, but previous knowledge of asthma was something that unified the group.

“I felt I was having an impact on students from many different cultures and different communities,” Kelley said. “Yet, everyone knows somebody with asthma, so this education is helpful in ensuring people use their inhalers the right way.”

One out of 12 people in the U.S. is diagnosed with asthma. For Kelley, leading a Metro Scrubs course was away to teach young people about the medical condition and to spur interest in careers that could help tackle this pressing health care need.

For Dr. Robert “Bob” Florence, a primary care internist at Allina in Vadnais Heights, Minnesota, teaching Metro Scrubs students was an opportunity to reconnect with the basics. Florence knows Augsburg well through his children, Jeffrey Florence ’02 and Beth Florence ’08, and he noted that teaching high school students was a reminder about the importance of clear doctor-patient communication. “I show the students what it’s like to do an office call with a patient, explaining the types of interactions I have with patients, along with the best and worst ways to handle certain scenarios,” Florence said. “I began teaching the class because the students hadn’t been exposed to primary care in the other Metro Scrubs sessions, and I wanted to teach them what they could and should expect.” While it can be difficult to fit extra opportunities into a physician’s hectic schedule, Florence said leading Metro Scrubs classes has been worthwhile. “It has helped me to be a better physician and taught students interested in medical careers valuable lessons,” he said.

The long-term goal of Metro Scrubs Camp is to increase the number of young people from underserved populations who are aware of career opportunities in the health care and biomedical industries, and who become inspired to pursue the level of education required to achieve those careers. During the camp, students develop concrete goals for their post-secondary field of study. More than 75 percent of campers reported they are interested in the health care field, 94 percent could see themselves going to college, and 97 percent could see themselves in a STEM industry.

Augsburg thanks the following partners who make the camp possible through volunteering, donations, sponsorship, and camper scholarships.

Boston Scientific
Minnesota Office of Higher Education
Fairview Health Services
Allina Health
Aloha Foundation
Step-Up/Achieve Minneapolis
Cedar Riverside Partnership
Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota
Rosemount School District
Sherman Associates

[Top Image]: Nearly six dozen students participated in Augsburg’s Metro Scrubs Camp this summer. One of nine such programs for Minnesota high school students, Metro Scrubs is a collaborative effort of Augsburg University, HealthForce Minnesota, Fairview Health Services, and St. Catherine University.

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