***Audio courtesy of “Leading Nebraska” podcast, Melissa Lee – Chief Communications Officer***
KEARNEY – Currently 13 of Nebraska’s 93 counties lack a primary care physician and many current practitioners are nearing retirement age – meaning Nebraska must quickly prepare future generations of healthcare professionals to sustain the workforce and meet the needs of the state.
The University of Nebraska at Kearney is applauded in their efforts to pipeline the growth of rural healthcare as the Central Nebraska Area Health Education Center sits on the UNK campus.
The federally funded center works to expose more young people to careers in healthcare and recruit them to serve in rural and undeserved areas.
Brandon Drozd, the center’s program coordinator…
“…It’s important to educate them on what those careers are actually like in a rural setting and have them see how they might be able to fit into that.”
Drozd leads a Health Careers Club that gives rural high school students the opportunity to visit local hospitals and clinics, shadow healthcare professionals on the job, and meet with university students and faculty to learn more about what it’s like to study and work in the healthcare field.
On the UNK campus, prospective students can visit the world-class Health Science Education Complex, where future nurses, physician assistants, physical therapists, radiographers and other allied health professionals are trained. The facility, a collaboration with the University of Nebraska Medical Center, opened in 2015, the result of a successful partnership between the university, the State of Nebraska and private donors.
Drozd – himself a native of rural Nebraska and a UNK graduate – takes great pride in helping future generations of young people find their own path.