A Local High School Plays Host to a Health Fair

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Health officials in Jefferson County say it's difficult to recruit health professionals in rural communities. A group of students is hoping to make their mark on the profession.

Middle and high schoolers are making rounds at a college fair in Jefferson County, one with an emphasis on health.

Kim Barnhill with the Florida Department of Health says, "It's very difficult in rural communities to recruit health professionals that will actually stay, so what we're hoping to do is grow our own out here."

Student Megan Payne thinks a career in cardiopulmonary science wouldn't be a bad idea.

Megan says, "It's a good thing for kids to come out to the health fair because it will let you know the choices you have to look forward too and what you will be doing and get everything together for your college years."

Jacara Lee, a senior at Hamilton High School, adds, "I don't want to just have a career where I just make a lot of money and not help someone else, I want to help somebody else."

With close to 30 colleges and universities represented there were a lot of directions for students to choose from.

Leonile Kitnurse, a recruiter for Florida A&M University, says, "You have occupational therapists, your respiratory therapists. Your doctors and nurses that are out there and they're always needing more, especially here in the state of Florida."

Jane Vollertsen, counselor at Jefferson County High School, says, "Hopefully, upon their training they'll come back here and stay in our small community because we need all of the health professionals we can have. Many of our students leave and don't come back and we want them to stay here."

Wednesday’s college fair was put on by Jefferson County Schools, the Jefferson and Madison County Health Departments and the Big Bend Area Health Education Center.