Youth summit offers hands-on experiences for students interested in health care

Students try out virtual reality technology during Novant Health's "It Takes a Village" youth...
Students try out virtual reality technology during Novant Health's "It Takes a Village" youth summit on Saturday, Feb. 18.(WECT)
Published: Feb. 18, 2023 at 5:07 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Families from as far as Duplin County traveled to Williston Middle School Saturday morning to learn more about potential careers in health care for their students.

Novant Health hosted the “It Takes a Village” Youth Symposium for students to find mentorship, ask questions and network with local health care professionals. It’s the first time Novant has put on the program in Wilmington.

“We know that it’s not just one person that ends up helping a child or one person on their journey, and so that is the title of this event,” said Elizabeth Forte, a transcultural health manager at Novant Health New Hanover Regional Medical Center. “It takes a village to raise a health care professional and it’s been so beautiful just to see our village of our area come together to support students.”

Students had the chance to participate in several hands-on activities to learn more about various career opportunities within the medical field, like trying out virtual reality technology, examining x-rays, and touring an ambulance.

They also got to talk with doctors and ask questions about their fields to better understand different focuses within medicine.

“We see this as an appetizer, something that kind of triggers the thirst, if you will, so that they begin to ask questions and be more inquisitive about the opportunities that are before them so that they can join the health care workforce,” said Kevin Briggs, a laboratory and respiratory care administrator.

Medical professionals who helped organize the event hoped to connect with students to not only show them the diverse career options in medicine, but to also strengthen opportunities for young people, especially students of color.

The goal was to “show them that though not many, there are people who look like them in this field,” according to an announcement for the event.

“I hope that students just see that there are so many people that support them,” Forte said. “We want students to see that there are people who don’t even know them who are cheering them on and really wanting them to succeed.”