Training future healthcare workers is part of the VA mission. On July 24, 2019, the Battle Creek VA Medical Center hosted the Grand Valley State University (GVSU) sHaPe (Summer Health Activities and Professions Exploration) camp with Battle Creek public middle school students. The sHaPe camp is a one-week day camp introduction to the health professions for boys and girls currently in 7th and 8th grades.
At sHaPe camp, students participate in activities that provide hands-on exposure to a variety of health professions, including physical therapy, medical lab science, sports medicine, and more. GVSU brought the students to the Battle Creek VA Medical Center campus for a day of learning and inspiration.
The day was filled with tours, presentations and “hands-on” experiences in the areas of Recreation Therapy, Dietetics, Blind Rehabilitation, and Fire/Paramedic.
The Fire Service provided a tour and gave the students exposure to the paramedic field and a variety of equipment used in the field. Nutrition and Food Service provided hands-on cooking classes and insight into a career as a Dietician. Blind Rehabilitation and Optometry Service helped inspire the students with demonstrations and information on how they provide services to Veterans with low vision and blindness. The Therapeutic Recreation Section teamed up with professors form GVSU to educate the students on Recreation Therapy and to show how recreation is adapted to Veterans with a variety of abilities and skills levels.
The day was a great way for VA professionals to connect with the community and to begin the process of recruiting future healthcare professionals to serve our Veterans.
Brian M. Pegouske is a public affairs officer at the Battle Creek VA Medical Center