Students arrived each day at 7 a.m. and rotated to different departments in the hospital including dietary, X-ray and respiratory therapy. "We try to give them an entire overview of all departments, including housekeeping," said recruiter Larry Brown.
One hour of medical terminology was taught each morning by administrator Frank Wise.
Students learned the importance of patient confidentiality, Brown said.
Students even dissected a beef heart. "Most were energetic. It gives them a broad view of the medical field," Brown added.
The program is an opportunity for students interested in the health field. Some students who participated in previous camps became doctors and nurses and returned home, Brown continued. "It's a great recruiting tool for small hospitals," Brown said.
The hospital has participated in the program for the past eight years, Wise said. It is designed to help students determine if a career in the medical field will be part of their future. Wise said it's significant even if some students learn health care is not a choice for them because it saves money and time for students, and parents.
The program started with seven camps in 1993 when the sponsor, Arkansas Medical Mentor Partnership, was founded. The plan was to empower hometown health care providers to encourage local youth to obtain medical education and training and to bring those skills back home to practice.
Students apply for MASH in their schools in early spring. They are required to have an aptitude for science, write a narrative telling why they wish to attend MASH and then be recommended by the school counselor or principal.
The partnership consists of Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) and the Rural Hospital Program at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, the Arkansas Academy of Family Physicians, Arkansas Farm Bureau, Arkansas Community Health Centers, Baptist Health, Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas and the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce-Associated Industries of Arkansas.
County Farm Bureaus have co-sponsored local students in the program. The camps are free to the students because of sponsor funding.