UTHSC Team Receives $1.3 Million for Educational Initiatives to Advance Careers at Allied Health

The National Institute of General Medical Sciences awarded $1.3 million to a new initiative at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) to educate high school students in rural Tennessee about careers in medical laboratory science and public health information technology.

Dr. Jacen Moore

Jacen Moore, PhD, MLS (ASCP), Assistant Professor in the Department of Diagnostic and Health Sciences at the College of Health Professions, is a Principal Investigator and Program Director. Rebecca Reynolds, EdD, RIIA, IAHIM, Professor and Program Director of Health Informatics and Information Management, and Keisha Brooks Burnett, EdD, MS, SCT (ASCP)MBAssociate Professor and Program Director of Cytotechnology and Histotechnology is a member of Dr. Moore’s team.

The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified the stress of acute shortages of trained, qualified and relevant health professionals, especially in rural communities and underserved populations. Although careers in areas such as medical laboratory science and public health information technology are in high demand, professional programs struggle to recruit students. Dr. Moore’s project aims to alleviate this recruitment challenge by familiarizing and engaging students’ interests early in high school, which is not as popular and well-promoted as other medical professions. is intended for

The project, called “High School 2 Health Care” (HS2HC), aims to enhance opportunities in these areas for underserved student populations. It consists of a summer program and dual enrollment courses that educate high school students and their teachers about careers in medical laboratory science and public health information technology. Integrating next-generation scientific standards, classes give students and teachers the opportunity to develop practical skills and experience what a career in these fields can be like.

“Through this SEPA award, West Tennessee students and teachers have an incredible opportunity to introduce new and innovative pathways to career development in the medical profession,” said Dr. Moore. “By working with the University of Tennessee-Martin to step into the underserved communities of Ripley and Selmer, we further highlight the community’s need to provide education to students, families and communities.”

“With this award, our university recognizes the dedication of Dr. Moore and his team to introduce students from rural and underserved areas of our state to a career track in the medical profession. We are pleased to make it possible for you to do so’ at UTHSC College of Health Professions. “We hope that many students exposed to this program will choose careers in the health care profession that can make a significant difference in the provision of health care and the diagnosis of illnesses in our state.”

Dr. Moore’s team is working in collaboration with a team led by Ripley, Director of the Extension Center at the University of Tennessee-Martin, led by Simpphronia Taylor, MBA/EdD, PhD, and a team led by Carolyn Cardon, MS, PhD, Memphis. The University’s Center for Research and Educational Policy. This project is funded by a Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) grant.

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