Winnetonka High School student Patreice Coccia aspires to be a medical examiner someday. Through KC HealthTracks’ inaugural summer camp, she received a behind-the-scenes, hands-on introduction to a career in healthcare.

“I learned how to intubate, spike an IV bag and lots of other things I didn’t know about,” said Coccia, one of 20 students who participated in the program. “It helped inform me on things I can do for my career. We toured a cadaver lab, and I now know that I am able to withstand that.”

The goal of KC HealthTracks is to increase the number of high school students from under-resourced area schools to attend higher education training programs to grow a skilled, diverse workforce for the healthcare and biosecurity industries. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health National Workforce Diversity Pipeline awarded a $2.5 million grant to the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Nursing and Health Studies to direct KC HealthTracks. Partners include KC STEM Alliance, Metropolitan Community College-Penn Valley, Project Lead the Way, West Central Missouri AHEC (Area Health Education Center), Missouri HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America)and the Kansas City Area Education Research Consortium. The project will be available in Kansas City during a five-year period.

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