medical-educationBULLHEAD CITY, AZ – For the second year, area high school students are undergoing an intense two week internship at both Bullhead City area hospitals.  The 16 students are being exposed to a wide variety of health care careers in addition to the traditional career paths of physicians and nurses.  The M*A*S*H program (Multiple Avenues of Successful Health Care) was first coordinated by the Bullhead Regional Economic Development Authority (BREDA) in conjunction with Valley View Medical Center (VVMC) in Ft. Mohave, Western Arizona Regional Medical Center (WARMC) in Bullhead City and the Colorado River Union High School District (CRUHSD).  This year, students are also participating from the Clark County School District and Mohave Accelerated Learning Center (MALC).

All but one are incoming seniors from Mohave, River Valley and Laughlin High Schools, plus MALC.  One Laughlin student is a second-semester junior.  All will have 80 hours of thorough orientation and job shadowing.  When they graduate later this month, the students will have learned how to draw and type blood, received their CPR certifications, and spent time in an operating room, kitchens, medical accounting, housekeeping, plant operations and many more departments.

BREDA president Lisa McCabe saw a presentation of another M*A*S*H program two years ago at an Arizona Association of Economic Development conference.

“It was a win-win for our board to approve last year’s launch,” said McCabe, “and it was a win-win to continue the program for a second year.”

Valley View, WARMC and CRUSHD are all BREDA members.

In order to be considered, students had to have a minimum 3.0 grade point average, have already taken and passed chemistry, biology and algebra with a B or better grade, complete a 400 word essay and provide three letters of recommendation.  There were 20 applicants for the 16 positions, with 16 students requesting assignment to Valley View and four students asking to be placed at WARMC.  Each hospital was assigned eight.  McCabe noted that for the second year in a row, “the selection committee had a difficult time selecting the finalists.  Several of the students have 4.0 (straight A) GPAs.”

The Lake Havasu Partnership for Economic Development and Havasu Regional Medical Center created a M*A*S*H program in 2012 after the initial concept was developed in Willcox at Northern Cochise Community Hospital.  Havasu Regional and Valley View are sister hospitals; both Valley View and WARMC agreed to partner with BREDA and CRUHSD to bring M*A*S*H to the Bullhead City/ Laughlin/Needles area.  This year’s students are from Bullhead City, Ft. Mohave, Laughlin, Mohave Valley and Topock/Golden Shores.

Hospital officials said they were looking for maturity, community service and a sincere desire and interest to be a part of the healthcare industry.  Some students indicated an interest in having their professional medical careers in the Tri-State area, an ongoing goal of BREDA, both hospitals and many community leaders.  Organizers hope that future M*A*S*H programs may be expanded to include students from Needles High School as well as Montessori Preparatory Academy’s new high school, scheduled to open in the coming school year.

The Bullhead Regional Economic Development Authority, Inc., was incorporated in 1991 as a designated by the IRS as a 501(c)(6) non-profit organization.  BREDA is a private company operated by a Board of Directors and one paid staff member.  Funding comes in part from the City of Bullhead City and in part from memberships.  The mission of the organization is to “diversify the economy of the Bullhead City area through the attraction of new private sector capital and employment opportunities.”  For more information about how to become more involved with the organization, call 928-704-6374 or log onto www.BullheadEDA.com.

Submitted by Lance Ross

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