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Upstate partners with OCM BOCES to bring area high school students to campus

Upstate partners with OCM BOCES to bring area high school students to campus

SYRACUSE, N.Y.-- Upstate Medical University is partnering with Onondaga-Cortland-Madison Board of Cooperative Educational Services (OCM-BOCES) to offer a unique learning experience for high school students interested in the medical field.

In its first year, the Career and Technical Education (CTE) program enrolled more than 30 area students. The program includes 21 juniors and seniors who are primarily focused on physical therapy, a two-year program led by OCM-BOCES instructor Jennifer Tucker-Locke, PT, DPT. An additional 11 seniors are part of a one-year medical job-shadowing program called New Vision, led by OCM-BOCES instructor Robin Wiley, RN.

In both programs, students are taken outside the classroom and into clinical settings. “The students focused on physical therapy have been exposed to physical, occupational and speech therapy on acute patient floors of Upstate University Hospital, and New Visions students have seen the operating rooms and have observed wound care at both the VA and Crouse hospitals,” said Katherine Beissner, PT, PhD, professor and chair of Physical Therapy Education and interim dean of the College of Health Professions.

“Experiential learning is the wave of the future, and learning in context is the most important aspect of real world opportunities like this,” Beissner said.

Upstate’s partnership with OCM BOCES provides students with a break from their normal routine that infuses learning with excitement. By placing high school students in an industry-based classroom where they work alongside professionals in the field, an alliance for innovative learning has been created that is vital in competing in our global economy.

“By engaging in problem-solving, students learn firsthand about the many facets of the health care field,” said OCM BOCES Career and Technical Education Director Phil Grome said. “Where better to learn than at the region’s health care leader, SUNY Upstate Medical University, where we can provide students with a front-row seat to a wide variety of medical professionals in authentic clinical settings. Partnerships with higher education have added strength to the program rigor as students earn college credit through Onondaga Community College. The coursework is aligned and delivered by college instructors. It’s incredibly exciting for our students and a true break from the school routine.”

All CTE students are on the Upstate campus three days a week.

Other community partnerships with BOCES include Driver’s Village for automotive technology, Cortland Head Start for Early Childhood Education, the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Department for New Vision Criminal Justice, and Lime Hollow Nature Center in Cortland for New Vision Environmental Science.

“Students really get a leg up on their college applications, and their career search, by participating in our partnership with Upstate,” said Jackie Wiegand, OCM BOCES marketing coordinator. “Nothing is more exciting to our students than being able to actually see and experience what a career in the medical field might look like.”

Caption: Under a new partnership between Upstate Medical University and OCM-BOCES, students in the Career and Technical Education program visit Upstate three times a week to learn about professions in health care.