Program Helps Students find Passion and Focus


“What do you want to be when you grow up?” is a question children are commonly asked. For a group of 16 high school junior and seniors from Boone, Carroll, Marion, Newton and Searcy counties, the answer is easy. They all plan to pursue healthcare occupations. Those students participated in the Medical Applications of Science for Health (MASH) program hosted by North Arkansas Regional Medical Center (NARMC) June 12-23.

For two weeks, these students listened to lectures and watched demonstrations by NARMC providers. Students learned about all facets of healthcare. They also shadowed NARMC staff members and other health care professionals in various fields, including family medicine, dentistry, emergency medical services, surgery, ambulance services and veterinary medicine. Students were able to see specific careers up close.

For 17-year-old Brandi Sullins from Bruno Pyatt, the MASH program is a stepping-stone to further her passion in life.

“I have always wanted to help people,” Sullins said.

When she began MASH, Sullins thought she wanted to be a physical therapist but at the end of the two-week program, she had a new goal. Visiting the Emergency Department inspired Sullins to become an ER nurse. For her, like many students, healthcare is personal. With her mother on dialysis, being able to care for others means so much to her.

For many students, the MASH program helps them find their passion or narrow their focus.

“I know I do not want to be in the ICU or ER,” 18-year-old Kyle Howerton of Harrison said. “I think that is really valuable for this program. It narrows down a lot of the guessing once you get into college and start making those big decisions.”

NARMC has hosted MASH for decades and has seen several graduates go on to pursue careers in medicine, including some in the NARMC community.

The MASH program has been successful throughout the state of Arkansas. It was created at the University of Arkansas for Medical Science in Little Rock with financial support from Arkansas Farm Bureau. MASH is supported by the Arkansas Medical Mentor Partnership, an organization that focuses on the shortage of medical professionals in rural Arkansas. The Arkansas Medical Mentor Partnership membership includes Arkansas Farm Bureau, the UAMS AHEC Program and Rural Hospital Program, Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield, the Arkansas Academy of Family Physicians, Arkansas Community Health Centers, Baptist Health and the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce/Associated Industries of Arkansas, Inc.

Located in Harrison, Arkansas, NARMC is a 176-bed hospital and medical system with a team of 800 dedicated healthcare professionals. The medical center is committed to providing the best in care, close to home for residents of Boone, Marion, Newton, Searcy and Carroll counties. One of the Top 100 rural hospitals according to The Rural Health Policy Institute, NARMC has numerous 5-star ratings from Healthgrade and scores in the 98th percentile for patient satisfaction in the Press Ganey Patient Satisfaction Ratings.

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Photos on this website are provided by Vowell Publishing, Inc. and NARMC.