‘Front row seat:’ Shallowater ISD celebrates hands-on learning clinic, partnership with UMC

Published: Dec. 5, 2022 at 9:54 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 5, 2022 at 10:33 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Shallowater ISD has a new home for two of its medical programs, the SISD Health Sciences Learning Clinic. One of those programs is the first of its kind in the state. The school district celebrated the grand opening of the clinic Monday, alongside its partner on the project, University Medical Center.

Superintendent Anita Hebert says this moment of celebration is the result of years of hard work and strong partnerships. The clinic is the new home for students enrolled in Shallowater’s new Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) and Occupational Therapy (OT) programs. The hands-on programs are possible through a partnership with UMC. The hospital’s CEO, Mark Funderburk, says the partnership doesn’t just provide classroom training.

“But also exposure to our clinics. A very front-row seat for students to see, I think, the possibility of a future in healthcare,” he said.

In the CMA program, students get classroom and real-world experience in direct patient care at UMC’s community clinics throughout Lubbock. The new learning clinic is also in the same building as Shallowater physician Dr. Brian Carreon.

“So, we proposed a partnership with them in working with this space so our kids could have next-door access to our local physician who could also provide them hands-on experiences from time to time,” Hebert said.

This is the district’s second year for the CMA program, but the OT program is brand new. Hebert says a Shallowater teacher helped create the curriculum for the entire state.

“The course was actually just written and approved by TEA last spring, with our teacher as one of the leads in developing that course, and so we are the first here with that practicum level to be able to be here actually at a clinic in Texas,” she said.

Students who go through the programs are guaranteed a job interview with UMC after they graduate.

“It really is the launchpad to what their future is going to be, and so we’re working hard to create programs that give kids real-life work experience,” Hebert said.

Hebert says the district had a couple of dozen students enrolled in the medical programs this year. For next year, they have around 75 more waiting to see if they will get a spot.