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North High Medical Academy gets nod from school board

January 24, 2000|By BRUCE HAMILTON

North Hagerstown High School will offer a special program for students interested in medical careers beginning this fall.

The Washington County Board of Education last week unanimously approved a medical academy at North High. The academy combines existing courses with internships in local doctors' offices, hospitals and other health care businesses.

Washington County Technical High School already offers a health occupations program that prepares students for medical jobs. North High Principal David Reeder said the academy will create more opportunities.

The technical high school has a fine program, and "The proposal for the academy would in no way diminish the quality of the program at the technical high school," he said.

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He presented the proposal along with Arnold Hammann, principal of the technical high school.

"In our opinion, the more young people we can excite to pursue medical careers, the better we can serve the community," Reeder said.

Hammann said the two programs have different focuses. North's academy involves more theory, while the technical high school combines theory and practice, he said. "The two address different learning styles," he said.

Reeder distributed a printed pamphlet that explains the academy's philosophy. It says there is a shortage of qualified young people to fill positions in local medical professions.

The pamphlet says the academy includes positions such as audiologist, dentist, geneticist, hospital administrator, midwife, occupational therapist, optometrist, pharmacist, psychologist, physical therapist, radiologist, nurse, speech pathologist, veterinarian and zoologist.

No additional staff would be needed for the academy and it would not require curriculum changes, Reeder said.

Participating students would have to complete pre-calculus, physics, anatomy and physiology before the end of their junior years.

The academy will be open to students in all county schools. Only 25 students will be accepted by an advisory board consisting of representatives from the School Board, Washington County Hospital, the Washington County Health Department, local practitioners, veterinarians and post-secondary institutions.

Part of the two-year program involves independent study and outside speakers. Teachers involved in the academy will be encouraged to spend time in the summer working in math or medical fields related to their courses.

The school's location is an advantage because it is near many medical establishments, according to Reeder.

North High is next to the Washington County Health Department, five miles from Washington County Hospital and three miles from the Community Free Clinic.

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