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Partners HealthCare brings health care curriculum and career fairs to Camp Harbor View

8/8/2012, 11:05 a.m.

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Charlotte Roy, safety officer and emergency management coordinator at Newton Wellesley Hospital during an emergency management exercise.

This summer, 800 middle school students from Boston will learn about health and health careers at Camp Harbor View through the Partners Health Explorers program. The program is supported by Partners Community Health and is designed to stimulate campers’ curiosity about science, introduce them to the educational connections between school and health careers and promote healthy choices and behaviors.   

“The Health Explorers program is a wonderful opportunity to partner with Camp Harbor View and offer hundreds of young people from across Boston opportunities to learn about health and science, build leadership skills and envision careers in health care for themselves,” said Gary Gottlieb, president and CEO of Partners HealthCare. “Providing educational and economic opportunities for young people in the neighborhoods we serve is a top priority of our community health work.”

The curriculum is a variety of learning modules that includes: first aid, wellness, nutrition and exercise. Campers also participate in career days which are led by Partners employees from hospitals across the system and make concrete connections between education and health careers for the teenagers.

“It was a fun and exciting experience to teach and inspire the Health Explorers at Camp Harbor View about what it’s like to work in the imaging department at MGH,”  said Melanie Orlowski, Ultrasound Technical Manager, Massachusetts General Hospital Imaging and participant in the July career fair. “The campers were very enthusiastic about our presentation and seemed eager to learn about the work we do at the hospital by asking excellent questions.”

This is the second year the Health Explorers program is being offered at the camp. It was piloted with about 50 campers last summer during a week-long program. It was so well received that Camp Harbor View leaders invited Partners back to embed a modified version of the Health Explorers curriculum into the eight weeks of camp for all 800 campers this summer.

The Health Explorers program is a great example of an exciting partnership with Camp Harbor View and it allows for innovative ways to support and encourage Boston’s youth to make healthier choices. After one nutrition module, some campers expressed shock to learn what a  healthy amount of sugar is to have each day versus how much they were actually consuming. They decided that going forward, they would read more labels to learn how many grams of sugar are in their drinks, or have water instead.

Camp Harbor View, on Long Island in Boston Harbor, offers city residents the opportunity to retreat from inner-city neighborhoods, enjoy the beauty of the Harbor Islands, and have fun in a safe and healthy environment.

The camp was created by Boston’s Mayor Thomas M. Menino and philanthropist and former Chairman of the Board for Partners HealthCare, Jack Connors. It is funded through the Camp Harbor View Foundation, a non-profit organization.

Partners HealthCare has been supporting the camp since it began in 2007. The work the camp does with young people is at the heart of Partners mission for community health.