Runnels | Independent School, Baton Rouge


Senior Participates in Area Health Education Program


Catherine Bonaventure, a senior at Runnels High School, learned how to do sutures and put in an IV last summer. As a participant in the AHEC (Area Health Education Center) Summer Program, she also observed the correct way to deliver a baby, with the help of a sophisticated robot "mother," an iPod, and a batch of controls.
During the three-week program, held last June at Woman's Hospital in Baton Rouge, Catherine shadowed medical professionals as they went about their regular duties in various departments, including the NICU, the lab, radiology and pathology. 
"We did different rotations every morning, and in the afternoon we took classes for half a high school credit," she explained.  Her favorite rotation the NICU where she was able to see the tiny preemies and an amazing number of medical machines. 
With plans for a career in pediatrics, cardiology, or neurology, Jr./Sr. High Assistant Principal Dana Schlotterer suggested Catherine consider the program. She also wrote her a recommendation. AHEC offers students a chance to learn about patient care, current health issues, and college requirements for various health professions.
Though Catherine said she learned to do those sutures on rubbery fake skin and the IV on a robotic arm with artificial blood, the AHEC experience increased her enthusiasm for a future in medicine. "I was pretty good at sutures," she noted. 
Apparently her fellow scrub-wearing students and her AHEC teachers agreed. Catherine came away from the program with two impressive awards. She was named "Most Likely to be a Surgeon" by the students, and the "Most Outstanding Student" by the AHEC faculty.