Ada area students explore medical careers

ADA, Okla. – As America grays health care providers are banding together to interest young people in medical related careers. An estimated 10,000 baby boomers reach age 65 daily, a fact that will continue for the next 20 years, illustrating the need for more quality medical professionals in the future.

Young people are seeing the need and are witnessing just how valuable a medical career can be. The Chickasaw Nation Medical Center, Mercy Hospital Ada, Pontotoc Technology Center, Rolling Hills Hospital and East Central University’s nursing department hosted a Career Exploration Day at Ada’s Agri-Plex that attracted 218 high school students from Ada, Latta, Vanoss, Byng and Tupelo.

The March 10 gathering marked three years since tribal, city, and county health facilities first hosted a day to introduce talented students to rewarding careers in medicine. While some focus on careers as physicians or registered nurses, experts say a much wider range of health care careers will be in demand for decades to come as Americans age.

Among them are pharmacists, emergency medical team first-responders, radiology experts, nurses, respiratory therapists, nutritionists, lab technicians and an endless list of professionals charged with helping Americans stay healthy and enjoy a higher quality of life into their 80s and 90s.

Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby, speaking to a large gathering of Oklahoma Health Improvement Plan enthusiasts in Noble, Oklahoma, on the same day students explored medical careers in Ada, stressed the importance of health care now and in the future.

Quoting famed essayist and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson that “the first wealth is health,” Gov. Anoatubby delved deeper.

“Health and wellness are at the very core of our quality of life,” he said. “In 2010, we opened the Chickasaw Nation Medical Center in Ada to help meet the health care needs of Chickasaws and other Native Americans we serve,” he said.

“We made a significant investment in this facility because we want to be prepared to meet today’s needs and the needs of generations to come,” Gov. Anoatubby said.

Since opening, the medical center has treated more than 1 million patient visits. Last year, the medical center dispensed more than 1.3 million prescriptions.