Each year, Augusta Health hosts the week-long ACES (Augusta Career ExplorerS) Middle School Camp that provides as opportunity for middle school students to learn about the wide range of healthcare professionals that work throughout a hospital.
The students follow Bob – a congenial, middle-aged, slightly overweight man with chest pains and a bad knee – as he becomes a patient at Augusta Health. Starting with the ambulance and EMTs – then processing through the Emergency Department, laboratory, imaging, cath lab, pharmacy, diabetes education, joint center, nursing, infection prevention and several other departments within the hospital – the students assume the role of the various medical professionals who are a part of Bob’s journey to improved health. Hands-on activities make the learning fun and interactive while teaching skills, providing information on health careers, and lessons on good health to be incorporated into their own lives.
The camp is provided free to 24 students each year. After ACES Camp, students interested in healthcare professions can become one of Augusta Health’s Teen Volunteers, beginning the summer after they complete ninth grade. The Teen Volunteer Program is five weeks long, and students spend 20 hours each week volunteering and learning within a specific department of interest. Students then interested in a more in-depth experience can participate in the Mentorship Program through their school district, and spend a semester working and learning more about a specific healthcare profession.
“One out of every three adults has high blood pressure. Because it is so common, and contributes to so many of our leading causes of death like heart disease and stroke, identifying those with high blood pressure and helping them get it under control is one of the most essential things we can do to improve the health of our community.”
– Scott Just, MD, Augusta Medical Group Vice President and Chief Medical Officer
Augusta Health’s Community Outreach Department developed The Big Squeeze, a pilot educational program designed to lower blood pressure readings in neighborhoods that, during the Community Health Needs Assessment, were found to have higher rates of hypertension than other areas in the community.
More than 80 people participate in the program and are screened every other month a four Community Partner sites – Booker T. Washington Community Center and Valley Mission in Staunton, and the Rosenwald Community Center and Casa de Amistad at Basic United Methodist Church in Waynesboro.
In addition to screening and counseling, six health topic “chats” are presented throughout the year, addressing nutrition, physical activity, tobacco and alcohol use, weight management and sodium intake – all designed to help those being screened make incremental changes to improve their blood pressure readings. Other health services provided to the groups have included flu shots and colon cancer screening kits.
Wellmont Health System
Southwest Virginia/Eastern Tennessee
Wellmont has made available continuing education and training to employees, medical staff, members of affiliated health care organizations and schools, and interested members of the public. Some of those opportunities include:
- Annual Stroke Symposium; open to Wellmont physicians and staff and the community;
- Annual Critical Care and Trauma Conference; open to Wellmont physicians and staff and the community;
- Annual Cardiovascular Summit; open to Wellmont physicians and staff and the community;
- Annual Women and Children’s Exposition, open to Wellmont physicians and staff and the community;
- Annual Diabetes Exposition, open to Wellmont physicians and staff and the community;
- A prescription drug abuse conference; and
- Regular education for clinical staff on topics including CPR programs, Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support, Pediatric Advanced Life Support, Advanced Trauma Life Support and Advanced Trauma Course for Nursing.
Wellmont also keeps the community informed by providing clinicians and staff to speak on health topics in the media and at civic clubs and community groups. One way to help keep a community healthy is to increase its number of flu vaccinations. Wellmont helped share this message with the communities it serves in a variety of ways, including making flu shots mandatory for all staff, students, volunteers and vendors. Wellmont provides information and receives feedback from our patients and their families through active social media initiatives, including a popular Facebook page with thousands of online users. Wellmont sponsored or assisted local support groups that aid in understanding, coping and overcoming the daily emotions and trials of ongoing or terminal diseases. Breast cancer support group, diabetes support group and “Camp Caterpillar” Child Grief Camp are some examples of these. And Wellmont’s Diabetes Treatment Centers provide a variety of educational opportunities to Wellmont staff and patients as well as to the community and areas businesses.
A Baby Basics Mom’s Club is offered at Wellmont’s Bristol Regional Medical Center, as are childbirth education classes at Bristol Regional Medical Center and Holston Valley Medical Center, to provide vital information to pregnant women. Women receive the Baby Basics Pregnancy Guide and Planner, a book that explains what they can expect during each month of pregnancy and covering topics such as safe sleep, nutrition, breast feeding, pre-term labor and car seat safety.
Through a partnership with the Sullivan County Regional Health Department, caregivers from Wellmont’s Bristol Regional Medical Center birthing unit educate the community on the dangers of smoking for pregnant women with “Smoky Sue,” a doll that shows the harmful effects of tar and nicotine on an unborn fetus.