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'Camp Med' gets teenagers interested in healthcare careers

Wake Forest School of Medicine and Northwest Area Health Education Center organize the event each year. This year, it's virutal.

The demand for healthcare professionals is growing - and many reports predict a dire shortage in a matter of years. It's why the Wake Forest School of Medicine and Northwest Area Health Education Center organize "Camp Med" each summer - to expose kids to the profession early. Like last year's event, it's virtual again.

"We had India, Mexico we had about six different countries last year that some kind of way it found its way to them, usually by looking on the Wake Forest website they'll find it," Melanee Mills, program director said.

"Camp Med" gives teenagers an opportunity to invest in their future over the summer by acting as an introduction to a career in healthcare.

"We have figured out that exposure is the key that affects futures, so if they don't know about it they can't learn about it," Mills said. "What we do is expose them to things that that may not of ever seen or heard about before in the fields of health."

There is a growing need to get people to enter the field - a report by the Association of American Medical Colleges predicts a shortfall of more than 100,000 doctors by 2030. The report contributes the shortage to couple of factors including an aging population, retiring workforce and increase chronic diseases.

Mills says she sees the deficiency in our area.

"We go into a lot of our rural counties and find that people just finding a certified nursing assistant is difficult, they're in such high demand because people are needing them so desperately in hospitals and nursing homes," Mill said. "The jobs are open but there are no students to fill those positions so what we're doing is exposing and working with our school systems in our hospitals to make sure we're meeting those needs."

Registration is free for the camp for 8th-12th graders. It is all online. You can enroll here.