Ten students recently completed the annual two-week MASH Program held at Ozark Health Medical Center.

Who are these local students interested in a health related profession?

Haley Roberts wants to become an emergency room nurse.

Radiology appeals to Chelsey Watts.

The speech therapy field looks attractive to Marquis Perkins-Landon.

Blake Baker and Halee Hillyer want to practice "rural" medicine.

Harrison Lester finds being a surgeon enticing. Not the case for Tanner Jones who says, "I can’t cut on someone." Currently he is unsure which field he wants.

Sheyenne Jones was blown away by the neo-natal unit at UAMS.

Both Alexus Stutzman and Ryder McGaha think the emergency room is the medical challenge they are seeking.

This is the 13th year that Ozark Health has hosted this summer enrichment program that exposes high school students to the many career opportunities available in the health-care field. MASH, which stands for Medical Application of Science for Health, is a UAMS-facilitated program hosted by hospitals across the state.

"We had a really great group of young students this year," said Ozark Health’s MASH coordinator Carla Roberts, RN. "They were all so eager to learn and they all picked up on things very quickly. I hope to see several of them back in the community as colleagues in a few years."

MASH exposes the students to the different careers in the medical field and introduces them to medical procedures and terminology. The students, after health and privacy rules and safety training, participated in job shadowing in the various departments. They learned about filling a prescription, taking an X-ray in the Radiology Department; performing pulmonary function testing and breathing treatments in the Respiratory Department; scrubbing techniques and observing surgical procedures in the Surgery Department; restoring a patient’s balance in Physical Therapy along with many more activities.

The students were also able to participate in lots of hands-on activities to learn medical procedures, including suturing a wound, casting a broken bone, dissecting a heart, reading X-rays among other activities. They also heard about diet and dentistry from guest speakers.

They made a field trip to UAMS in Little Rock to the Spine and Neuroscience Institute. While there they toured the Neonatal unit and the School of Pharmacy Laboratory. They participated in various chemistry compounding experiments using burners to melt and mix ingredients and took home items they made like hand soaps, sugar exfoliate scrubs, chap stick, shaving cream and other personal care items.

The students received certificates of completion at a luncheon graduation ceremony held in their honor.

MASH is offered free of charge to students and is facilitated through UAMS. One goal of the program is to help meet the growing need for health-care workers and providers, especially in the rural areas. This year’s students represented four rural communities and four high schools in and around Van Buren and Searcy counties. Interested students should talk with their school guidance counselors.

MASH sponsors include Farm Bureau, UAMS, Baptist Health, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Department of Human Service -Office of Oral Health, and the Arkansas Medical Mentoring Partnership.