CONCORD, N.C. – Cabarrus College of Health Sciences partnered with the Center of Excellence for Research, Teaching and Learning (CERTL), part of Wake Forest University School of Medicine, to bring the center’s Best SELF (Supportive Enrichment and Learning for Families) program to the greater Charlotte area for a second year in a row. The Best SELF program includes weekly academic tutoring with medical or graduate students, academic counseling on a quarterly basis, experiential field trips to learn about STEM-related career paths and a summer enrichment camp that addresses core academic subjects combined with healthy activities to promote wellness, nutrition and fitness. 

Health Sciences Summer Program at Cabarrus College Photo 2 Chris

The summer enrichment camp portion of the program was held on the campus of Cabarrus College. The camp was created to introduce the campers to various health care careers and inspire them to pursue their interests and passions. The camp also exposes students to the anatomy and physiology of diverse body systems and the role of animal research in health care. 

During the month of June, students participated in various sessions related to health care, such as CPR, radiology, DNA extraction, microbiology, surgical technology, cardiovascular system, respiratory therapy, medical assistant, occupational therapy, and community paramedicine. They also learned about the Cabarrus College campus and programs and created vision boards.

“The campers showed curiosity, enthusiasm, and perseverance in the activities, and demonstrated high expectations and ethical behavior. They also formed friendships and collaborations with each other and the staff,” said Leslie Russell, CERTL program manager.

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Chris Goenner, Cabarrus College community paramedicine program chair, introduced campers to the exciting world of mobile integrated health, an emerging field that is bringing care to patients where they are most comfortable — at home. Campers took turns roleplaying a patient in a Cabarrus County EMS ambulance, simulating stabilizing each other, and using electrodes to measure vitals. They also met a Cabarrus County community paramedic who walked students through the different instruments they had on board their mobile unit. “It was exciting to observe such a high level of interest and inquisitive questions posed by students,” said Goenner. 

Once students complete the summer portion of the program, in person and virtual tutoring and mentoring services are offered throughout the academic year. Parents will also meet quarterly with program staff for updates on their child’s progress in the program and to develop and implement personalized enrichment plans.

Christine Corsello, dean of student affairs and enrollment management at Cabarrus College, expressed delight at having the Best SELF program return for another year. “The program helps young people explore new topics and skills that spark their natural curiosity and inspire them to ask their own original questions about the world they live in,” said Corsello.

This program is made possible through a collaboration that includes CERTL, Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist’s Family Medicine, BestHealth for Us/LiveWell and the School of Medicine’s Office of Student Inclusion and Diversity.