His life was in danger. He was wheezing, panicking, and calling out for help. The students in the room tried to figure out what was wrong with him by checking his blood pressure, oxygen saturation, heart rate and temperature. Finally, the students came to a diagnosis -- the dummy patient was having an asthma attack. He was saved by an inhaler.
Checking symptoms and coming to a diagnosis is just one of the many things students learn through the Health Professions Recruitment and Exposure Program (HPREP) at Harvard Medical School.
HPREP is a program that gives high school students across greater Boston a hands on experience in science and medical related careers. According to their website, HPREP’s mission is to recruit underserved and underrepresented high school students into science and medicine. They also aim to increase awareness of opportunities available in the health professions through mentorship, career panels, discussions, and research projects.
Through participating in HPREP, students are “gaining the mentorship and friendship of a graduate or medical student who they can go to for advice about college, careers, and many other things during and after the program,” said Deepali Ravel, one of the three program co-directors.
Sessions are held every Saturday from November through February, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. During sessions, participants gain hands on experience in topics such as DNA isolations, viruses and vaccines, and genetics, just to name a few. During career fairs, students have “the chance to meet health and science professionals from a wide range of areas,” said Ravel.
69 students from across greater Boston participated in the 2016-2017 programming year. More than 350 alumni have complete the HPREP program over the last eight years it has been running.
Due to strong interest in the program, the application process is competitive. However, that does not mean you need top grades to be accepted. It is all about whether you are really passionate about science and health careers and show “the motivation and ability to take full advantage of the curriculum and mentoring HPREP can offer,” according to Ravel.
The online application window opens mid-September and closes at the beginning of October. Decisions are emailed at the end of October. It is highly encouraged to apply again the following year if you are not accepted the first time around.
Not only is HPREP a great opportunity, but it also enriches student knowledge on what they plan to do in the future. To learn more about the program and the application process, please visit hprep.wordpress.com.