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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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Native American students from across New Mexico to meet with health professionals

More than 50 Native American middle and high school students from across New Mexico will meet with health professionals and learn about college opportunities during a "Celebration of Health Careers" Conference April 24-26 at New Mexico State University.

ference is held twice a year by New Mexico State's Southern Area Health Education Center (SoAHEC). The student conferences have been held both on and off campus for eight years and have helped about 600 Native American students look at possible health careers and the educational preparation needed for those careers.

"We want to encourage these students to go into health professions in their communities where there is a shortage," said Pearl Hawe, education outreach coordinator for SoAHEC.

This conference includes added opportunities for the students, Hawe said, because it is being held in conjunction with the New Mexico Public Health Association's (NMPHA) Annual Conference, which is taking place April 24-26 at the Holiday Inn de Las Cruces.

"This will give the students a chance to meet with close to 200 health professionals from across the state," said Daryl Smith, program coordinator for SoAHEC and incoming president of the NMPHA.

One of the keynote presentations to the students will be given by Leslie Randall, a member of the Ni Mii Pu Nation, Nez Perce Tribe and a maternal and child health epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Indian Health Service. She also will be the keynote speaker on the first day of the NMPHA conference.

Roundtable discussions at the student conference will allow the students to meet with a variety of health professionals including physician assistants, pharmacists, surgeons, family practice physicians, physical therapists and others.

Students also will have opportunities to meet with current undergraduate and graduate students and participate in some of the activities on campus in celebration of Native American Week, April 18-25.

The mission of SoAHEC, which also functions as the Border Health Education Training Center (BHETC), is to improve health care in the southern 17 counties of New Mexico. SoAHEC is funded by the University of New Mexico School of Medicine through New Mexico State's Health Science Department.

For more information about the student conference, call Hawe at (505) 992-3575. For more information about the NMPHA conference, call Smith at (505) 646-3429.

Julie M. Hughes
April 18, 2002