GPSA's mission is to improve community health services in low resource areas of Guatemala, Belize, Thailand and the USA. GPSA for Health's West Virginia program is an intensive health care experience for high school students and high school graduates with a passion for careers in medicine, nursing, global or public health, behavioral health, pharmacy, biomedical engineering, dentistry or other health occupations.
The West Virginia program is located in the remote village of Williamson, West Virginia. Williamson is a town of about 3000 inhabitants deep in the beautiful Appalachian mountains of West Virginia, USA. These rugged inhabitants have been devastated by natural disasters and economic hardship. Only recently has the city been protected by a floodwall in response to deadly flooding along the Tug Fork River in 1977 and again in 1984. The local economy is largely fueled by coal mining, an industry in rapid decline. The decline is so severe that it recently brought former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the city to discuss the problems of poverty and healthcare in this community.
Students who participate in this program will be working with local healthcare professionals to provide adult, adolescent, and pediatric aid. The primary patients are the uninsured and those covered by government poverty programs, including those who are unable to leave their home due to lack of transportation in Southwestern West Virginia and Southeastern Kentucky.
Activities will include educational programming with local schools, home visits and working at the local clinic. For clinical service, participants are divided into teams led by trained GPSA staff. You will learn to facilitate several medical screenings (measuring infant height and weight, measuring blood glucose, blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, etc.). Participants not only learn more about healthcare, but they also get to know a new and different culture, perhaps making some lifelong friends in the process. Participants will be making a difference and starting their careers in health care now!
Cost and Session Information
In the fall of 2021 we will have information available on tuition and dates for the summer 2022 West Virginia programs.