“Mindful and Motivated Youth Health Summit” Aug. 19 to offer “A pipeline and pathway for students to go into healthcare”

By Canisha Bell

“I have really big plans to build the pipeline and pathway for students to go into healthcare. I’m not just looking for people to go into being a doctor or a nurse,  but the hope is that people see all of the different options that exist.”

To help facilitate those aims, local physician, Dr. Aisha Harris of Harris Family Health is offering The Mindful and Motivated Youth Health Summit to provide students with a variety of conferences. The summit will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 19 at the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine on the Flint campus in downtown Flint.

The purpose, Harris stated,  is to inspire Flint’s next generation of health professionals — teens 13 to 19 —  through a day of health, medicine, and self-care.

More information about the summit can be found at this link. Registration for the summit is open with a deadline of Aug. 1 for interested teens. Harris also can be contacted about the summit  at outreach@harrisfamilyhealth.com or (810)214-0075. The Summit is free to participants.

“I really do believe in exposing youth to things,  whether they like it or not. A part of growth is recognizing things that you do like and recognizing things that you don’t like. But if we don’t expose teens to things, they won’t even know what they do or don’t like.

“So I’m trying to build that foundation where this becomes a yearly traditional established kind of exposure program for our teens in our community because I really believe in a lot of them,” Harris said.


..Part of doing this health summit is to hopefully increase the number of health professionals coming out of our community, and hopefully return home, like I did, to Flint, Harris explained. “But also, just as a health professional, I know that we have a lot of shortages across the country including Michigan, including Flint. The exposure and opportunity to bring this to Flint as something that is unique and hopefully make teens feel like they can pursue something in health and medicine is a part of the main motivation.”

Dr. Aisha Harris, MD. (Photo submitted by Dr. Harris)

Harris is a Flint native and family doctor and the owner of  Harris Family Health. She states she is motivated to  strengthen the next generation’s exposure to medicine and help improve the pathways to health care careers. She continues to address health literacy and health education outreach in Flint and  Genesee County as a trusted resource in the community.

In Michigan, six percent of the work force are health professions and an additional four percent are in  health care support positions, according to a press release from Harris’ Family Heath. Health career jobs are projected to increase in numbers over the  next 10 years, but there is still a shortage of health care professionals in Flint, the state of  Michigan, and in the United States.

There are more than 22,000 physicians and more than 150,000 nurses in Michigan,  but that is not enough, the press release emphasized.  Teens are the future of the health care field  and many students may not be aware of the diverse health careers. Harris asserted  events like the Mindful and  Motivated Youth Health Summit will help students understand health and medicine more as a  potential career option and increase their exposure to future health care jobs.

Representation matters

Speaking from her own experience, Harris said, “Across the board, representation matters —  that’s kind of how I got to where I am as far as people showing me different careers or opportunities, whether I wanted to do them in the end or not.

“Exposure is really important —  to know that you can exist in that field, that job, or career or space. So bringing this type of opportunity to the Flint students,  especially the minority Black and Brown students,  fills my heart with a lot of joy because I think having something that they know they can aspire to.

Emphasizing the importance of representation and how events like the upcoming summit can have a significant impact on minority students, Harris reflected, “As someone who came from the same community that they came from, whether it’s health or something else [representation] is important — hopefully helping them to continue that pipeline of reaching back initiative that kind of bring us into spaces that we don’t necessarily always pursue.”

The summit will also highlight local health professionals speaking about, teaching, and showing their health related skills and  knowledge to students.

“The health summit is just the beginning…this is a one day thing right now but my dream and hope is that we actually bring, like, a mini-medical school summer camp or week to the city because those are also opportunity for students to get even more thorough exposure… but imagine if we had five days.”

A pipeline and pathway….into being a doctor or nurse

“I have really big plans to build the pipeline and pathway for students to go into healthcare,”  Harris said,  “and I’m not just looking for people to go into being a doctor or a nurse but the hope is that people see all of the different options that exist.

“I think a lot of teens just need to know that there are options that exist and that there are people who will support them. There are a lot of summer camps and summits for teens but this medical one is going to be a new one to drop into that spectrum.

“Part of the challenge is the kind of sponsorship, and funding and location and all of the things like that. I spearheaded it but there’s a lot of other people who are helping collaborate with me to make it actually come through.” Dr. Harris said.

The Mindful and Motivated Youth Health Summit is sponsored by a variety of organizations in  the Flint and Genesee County area that are happy to support the next generation’s exposure to  health and medicine.

About Harris Family Health: Harris Family Health is a direct primary care clinic in Flint that provides membership-based primary care services to residents in Flint and Genesee  County. Harris is a board-certified Family Medicine physician, Flint native and owner of Harris Family Health.

EVM Reporter Canisha Bell can be reached at canishajbell@gmail.com.

Author: Tom Travis

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