January 2009

Welcome to Pathways!
HCC officers
Our goal is to serve as a resource for you as you navigate the pathway through school and, ultimately, to a health career. Each month, you'll receive career and college planning tips, advice and resources to help you make your health career dreams a reality.

Motivational Minute

New year, new goals? Are you ready to take a chance and 'go for it' in 2009?

"No goals are attained without hard work, patience, sacrifice, and the resolve to never give up."

"Take the chance! Decide what you want, take the chance, and go for it."

"Don't live a life saying 'I could have;' 'I should have;' 'I wish I would have.' Live a life that says 'I DID'."
Michael E. Bird, MSW, MPH
First American Indian president of the
American Public Health Association
Director, Region 6 for Native Americans with
ValueOptions-New Mexico (VONM)
NC-HCAP's 2006 Inspirational Speakers in Science lecturer
In This Issue
Motivational Minute
Health Careers 101
Question of the Month
Join our Mailing List!
The North Carolina Health Careers Access Program (NC-HCAP) is located at UNC-Chapel Hill. Additional campus-based centers are located at Elizabeth City State University, North Carolina Central University, and the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

Established in 1971 by Dr. Cecil G. Sheps, we work to increase the number of underrepresented minorities or economically and/or educationally disadvantaged students who are educated, trained and employed in the health professions.

For more than 35 years, we have provided thousands of students with a variety of programs and activities to raise their awareness of opportunities available within the health professions and to increase their competitiveness as a health professional school applicant.

We're always here to assist you. Simply contact us at:

(919) 966-2264
[email protected]

 Health Careers 101
Do you want to give physical exams, treat illnesses, and prescribe medicine like doctors do without spending years in medical school? Well, you could become an actor and just play one on TV. Or, you could become a PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT and do all these things in real life!

Physician Assistant
Physician assistants (PAs) have many responsibilities similar to those of a physician, such as diagnosing and treating illnesses, assisting in surgery, ordering lab tests and advising patients.

As a physician assistant, you'll practice medicine under the supervision of a licensed physician.

Employment of PAs is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations through the year 2012 because of the growing health care industry and the emphasis on reducing costs of service.

Salary: $76,000 or more
Education: To become a physician assistant, you must have a bachelor's degree and attend a two-year physician assistant program.
Hot Link:
American Academy of Physician Assistants

Source: NC-HCAP Health Careers Information & Enrichment Workshop manual

"Inside the SAT and PSAT: Test Strategies That Really Work"
1. Be well prepared in order to minimize stress on test day.
Have everything you need ready before test day so you can take your time in the morning. Plan a restful evening, with no studying and plenty of sleep the night before.
2. Memorize the directions.
The instructions on each section of the test will always be the same. Learn them when you're taking practice tests, and you won't have to read them at all on test day.
3. Pace yourself and keep an eye on the time. You don't know whether the test room will have a clock, so bring a watch and be aware of the time.
4. Be clear on what the question is really asking.
The SAT is notorious for its uniquely worded questions, which many test takers find distracting or confusing. Make sure you've read and understand the question stem.
5. Take time to predict the answer.
The best way to avoid choosing a tempting wrong answer choice is to have an idea of what you're looking for before you even get to the answer choices. After you've read the question stem, make a detailed prediction of what the best answer should look like.

Source: Kaplan-Newsweek's How to Get into College 2008.
Question of the Month
Do you have a college or career planning question you'd like to ask? If so, email Mrs. Rivera at [email protected] Each month, at least one question will be answered right here in Pathways.

Question: I'm only a sophomore in high school, and I want to become a pediatrician.  Can you tell me what I'll need to be a competitive applicant for medical school? Also, what can I do now to start planning for a health career? 
Raleigh, NC

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, medical schools will definitely look at your college grades and your scores on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). But it's not
just about numbers on a transcript.
When reviewing your application materials, they also will look for evidence of integrity, maturity, concern for others, leadership potential, and an aptitude for working with people. Comments contained in the letters of evaluation you submit will be noted as will evaluations from your interview with the admission committee. Additionally, they will look at your extracurricular activities since they want to see that the students they choose have a sincere commitment to practicing medicine. Participating in medical research, mini-internships in the health care field, volunteer work and other activities can show this.

For more detailed information and requirements, contact your school of choice for their specific criteria.
Source: Association of American Medical Colleges and Aspiringdoctors.org

So, it's never too early to start preparing for a health career. If you're a middle or high school student, applying the following plan of action now will help:

(1)   Make the Decision
(2)   Prepare Early
(3)   Get Good Grades
(4)   Improve your Communication Skills
(5)   Learn to Study
(6)   Improve your Test-Taking Skills
(7)   Participate in Extra-curricular activities
(8)   Believe in yourself

Source: NC-HCAP Health Careers Information & Enrichment Workshop manual

If you would like assistance in creating a personalized plan of action for your specific career goals, please contact me at [email protected] or (919) 966-2264.
Health Careers
Explore a wide variety of health careers at nchealthcareers.com.

College Planning and Preparation

Get help with test preparation for college entrance exams at http://www.kaptest.com.

Browse college rankings, research and evaluate different colleges and universities, and pick the best match to meet your needs at http://www.princetonreview.com.

Tap into the latest news and information from the American Medical Association (AMA) on careers in allied health at http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/category/2322.html.
Financial Aid
The Carolina Covenant at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a college financing commitment between the university and historically low-income youth in North Carolina. Find out more at http://www.unc.edu/carolinacovenant/.
  Meet Mrs. Rivera
As the pre-college coordinator, Mrs. Koyah Rivera is responsible for planning, developing and implementing pre-college outreach initiatives across North Carolina.

Before joining NC-HCAP, Ms. Rivera was employed as a college admissions counselor at Shaw University in Raleigh. She has served as a Language Arts teacher for Wake County Public Schools and TV news producer/writer at two NBC TV stations. She is also the founder/executive director/TV host of Beyond Gifted, Inc., a non-profit organization which produces the "Beyond Gifted" television program to assist K-12 students in developing post-secondary plans to reach school and life success. She received dual B.A. degrees in communications and English from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.