ASHTABULA — Three Ashtabula County students recently completed Ashtabula County Medical Center’s ACMC Academy – a summer internship which lets high school students experience a variety of healthcare careers as they work alongside hospital caregivers.

Completing this year’s ACMC Academy were: Christina Bellios, Saint John School; Morgan Haywood, Edgewood High School; and Julia McDaniel, Geneva High School. Each student is a junior this year.

While welcoming the students, families, and ACMC caregivers to the commencement ceremony, ACMC Healthcare System President and CEO Leonard Stepp, Jr. said, “Our intent with ACMC Academy is to give local students a learning experience unlike any other in the area. Our hope is that they will see the value of a career in healthcare and stay in Ashtabula County, choosing ACMC as their place of employment.”

In addition to introducing students to the wide variety of careers in healthcare, giving them hands-on learning experiences, and making them aware of the opportunities at ACMC, the ACMC Academy has had an unexpected positive impact on the hospital’s caregivers.

ACMC Human Resources Director Jonathan Forbes, who oversees ACMC Academy, said, “These young adults bring so much energy to the hospital and to each department. Their enthusiasm reinvigorates the passion our caregivers had when first beginning their careers. They love hosting the students. Their perception, their inquisitive nature – it is exciting for our caregivers to be part of it.”

As part of the commencement, each student talked about what they learned and how they benefitted from ACMC Academy.

Bellios worked in the pediatrics department and rehabilitation therapy (occupational, physical, and speech). She said she enjoyed learning about preventative care for children and helping patients with the various rehabilitation therapies.

“I’m glad I started in pediatrics because it was something I was very interested in. Everyone was so helpful in teaching me about caring for children,” she said.

Haywood spent time in orthopaedics, working closely with Cleveland Clinic orthopaedic surgeon Mark Verdun, DO. She said learned the importance of building trust with patients, staying focused on the work at hand, and being humble.

“As soon as I stepped in the OR the first day, I learned that a career in healthcare is something I would love to do. Seeing Dr. Verdun take charge of the room with everyone listening to him as he performed surgery – it’s something I definitely could find myself doing.”

McDaniel said she enjoyed the variety of experiences as she spent time in surgery, the emergency department, and the intensive care unit.

“I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do coming into ACMC Academy and I wanted to see the different types of fields. It really showed me what I was interested in and what I wasn’t,” she said. “I know now more than ever that I want to do something medical. I’m extremely interested in it.”

Forbes said he is constantly asked how ACMC has such a successful Academy year in and year out. “It is through the work of our caregivers who give of their time and skill to teach. We have the support of the ACMC Foundation and the ACMC Healthcare System Board of Trustees. It takes many, many people to make this successful each year – all with a goal of teaching these young adults what it means to have a career in healthcare.”

ACMC Academy is funded through the support of the ACMC Foundation. Each student received a $500 scholarship for completing the program. An additional $1,000 scholarship is awarded each year to a student for demonstrating the highest level of commitment, performance, and professionalism throughout the eight-week internship. The $1,000 scholarship was presented to Haywood.

Students can apply for internships in the spring and are chosen by a panel of caregivers who review information from the students and their schools.

To learn more about ACMC Academy, please visit www.acmchealth.org/academy.


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