Research suggests there will be drastic shortage of health care professionals such as doctors, surgeons, nurse practitioners and home health aides within the next ten years due to a number of factors. This includes an increase in the aging population that will require extra care, more health care workers nearing retirement and limited capacity of education programs.
How might we inspire students curious about health care to become health professionals?
In early 2017, the STEAM Lab launched half-day STEAM Saturdays and week-long Summer STEAM Camps designed to give sixth through twelfth grade students the chance to actively learn about everything from anatomy and physiology to medical visualization and engineering. The goal is to boost interest in health care careers at an earlier age.
The success of these courses led to an expansion in programming for patients served within the OSF HealthCare Children’s Hospital of Illinois; undergraduates in engineering, computer science, industrial design, medicine and medical illustration and well as college students interested in medical school. In 2020, the STEAM Lab pivoted its programming to an online format to keep young people engaged during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Called STEAM at Home, students from anywhere in the world can participate in a variety of activities from the safety of their homes. Looking to the future, the lab will increase its offerings of at-home content, develop digital solutions for mobile devices and look for new ways to reach disadvantaged populations.
STEAM for all
- Reaching at-risk kids: STEAM programming has been a popular offering from Jump Simulation, attracting hundreds of students each year. However, not all families can afford this opportunity. Consistent with health equity action initiatives, the STEAM lab partners with community-based organizations to provide its programming to underserved youth at no cost. The idea is to reach young people who may not know all of the careers available in health care.
- 360° view of health care careers: It’s fair to say everyone understands the roles doctors, nurses and surgeons play in health care. But everyone might not know the responsibilities of a physician assistant, radiologist or paramedic. The STEAM Lab hopes to change that with the creation of an app that allows young people to explore career opportunities in an immersive environment. The goal is to expose kids to all types of health care professions early, so they understand the skills they need to gain to enter this field.
Help us cultivate talent in the health care field!
If you are interested in learning more about the STEAM Lab, participating in certain aspects of the journey or if you want to invest or partner, contact us today.