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CMSRU working to achieve health equity by introducing healthcare career options to college students

On Saturday, April 8, 2017, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University (CMSRU) hosted a community health event to provide information about different health career options to undergraduate college students. The health professions conference was part of CMSRU’s Pathways to Success program, which aims to address the shortage of a diverse healthcare workforce.

CMSRU developed the program to focus on careers that focus on cancer care. The day’s events were tailored to college students and included a keynote address from Evelyn Robles Rodriguez, RN, MSN, APN, AOCN, Director, Outreach, Prevention and Survivorship at the MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper. Rodriguez shared her educational experiences, along with her family story and her day-to-day interactions with patients. “I initially had a difficult time informing patients of a bad diagnosis, but I have come to understand that I give 100 percent to my patients and that I am still able to help them and provide them with a sense of peace,” she noted.

A career panel was assembled to illustrate professional pathways available to students who hope to embark on a career related to cancer care. The panel included an impressive array of individuals, including Hani Abujudeh, MD, Chief and Chair of the Department of Radiology; Art Lederman, RPh, the pharmacy supervisor at Cooper University Health Care; Gregory Kubicek, MD, a radiation oncologist and
Alexandra Muench, MS, a behavioral medicine fellow at MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Jocelyn Mitchell-Williams, MD, PhD, Associate Dean of the Office of Diversity and Community Affairs, highlighted the health disparities in Camden, NJ. “Cancer is among the leading causes of death around the world. It affects all of us, in one way or another, at some point in our lifetime. Cancer health disparities here in Camden and in other urban populations are significant; we must continue to try to reduce those gaps in care that affect disadvantaged populations.” Mitchell-Williams noted that April is National Cancer Control Month and the event marked the beginning of National Minority Cancer Awareness Week (April 9-15).

The conference also included a session with a genetic counselor from Cooper University Health Care, Jennie Stone, LCGC. Stone discussed the different roles genetic counselors play in the diagnosis of cancer and other diseases. She also took time to review case studies with attendees.

About Pathways to Success
CMSRU’s Pathways to Success program was formed in 2015 and is funded through a grant by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Health Careers Opportunity Program (HCOP). In the fall of 2015, CMSRU established a college and university pipeline consortium, with representation from Rowan University, Rutgers University-Camden, Camden County Community College, Rowan College at Burlington County and Cumberland County Community College. CMSRU collaborates with these institutions to recruit and support eligible students interested in CMSRU's Premedical Urban Leaders Summer Enrichment (PULSE), post-baccalaureate and pre-matriculation programs (UMED).