Lavella McWilliams, Community Relations coordinator at Great River Medical Center, spoke to Manila chemistry students on Thursday about the upcoming MASH (Medical Application of Sciences for Health) program. McWilliams serves as director for the summer MASH program sponsored by Farm Bureau, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences of Little Rock and local civic organizations.
McWilliams visits in the schools throughout Mississippi County explaining the program and leaving applications for interested students.
The two week MASH program is June 4-16 allowing 15 students to shadow professionals in various medical fields.
McWilliams told the students Manila was special to her as she went to school there.
"This is a great opportunity for students thinking about going into the medical field to get a first hand look at the opportunities available," McWilliams said. "In some cases it can help young students make a good career decision."
She explained to the students they would be shadowing doctors, nurses, lab technicians, therapists, pharmacists, and spending time in every clinical department.
McWilliams stressed the importance of commitment to the two week program.
"If you can't be there every day because of other commitments, please don't apply," McWilliams said. "A lot of students have after school jobs but most employers have been good to work around the two week schedule."
"We will have a med student coming to help us with the program this year," McWilliams said. "We will take field trips and every day there is something different."
April 20 is the deadline for application.
"We must have the application and a copy of your school transcript by the deadline," McWilliams said. "I don't select who is chosen. The applications are sent to a committee for review and selection."
McWilliams said she tries to give the students more time in fields of their interest but participants will spend time in a variety of departments to get an overall view of different career choices in the medical field.
"If your career interest is in the medical field, you will always have a job," McWilliams said.
The MASH program in Mississippi County started in 1996. McWilliams has served as director since 2002.
"It is a great program for young people," McWilliams said. "We have had several Manila students come through the program."