Career night gives students view at hot jobs in medical field

Kristen Breedlove, a physician assistant in the heart unit at Akron Children’s Hospital, removes a chest tube from a patient in the hospital’s pediatric intensive care unit. (Ed Suba Jr./Akron Beacon Journal)

(OHIO.COM) Middle and high school students can get more information about a future career in the fast-growing medical field during an upcoming Healthcare Career Awareness Night.

The career fair will take place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Nov. 7 at North High School, 985 Gorge Blvd., Akron.

The free event is open to Akron-area students in grades 6 through 12 and their parents.

More than 25 exhibits and demonstrations will provide information about careers in biomedical engineering, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, sports medicine, medical research, respiratory care, social work and physical, occupational and speech therapy, along with other fields.

Event organizers say the hottest health-care jobs today include clinical nurse specialists, nurse practitioners, occupational therapists, occupational therapy assistants, pharmacist clinical coordinators, physical therapy assistants, physician assistants and information technology positions.

According to projections by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 28 percent of all new jobs created nationwide through 2020 are expected to be in the health-care and social assistance industry.

The field includes jobs in hospitals and nursing homes, as well as services for individuals and families.

About 5.7 million jobs are expected to be created in these industries, according to the federal projections. The trend is being driven by the nation’s aging population and longer life expectancies.

The local event is sponsored by Healthcare in Progress, a partnership among Akron Children’s Hospital, the Akron Community Foundation, Akron General Health System, Akron Public Schools, the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron, Kent State University, Northeast Ohio Medical University, Summa Health System, Akron-Region Interprofessional Area Health Education Center and the University of Akron.

The collaborative program’s goal is to expose Akron-area students to careers in the health-care field and help prepare them for opportunities.

More details about the Healthcare Career Awareness Night are available online at

Ohio bugged

The number of Ohio residents sickened or killed by the mosquito-transmitted West Nile virus was the highest this year in a decade.

In its final weekly seasonal report issued last week, the Ohio Department of Health documented 114 human cases of West Nile virus and six fatalities. Another 11 Ohio residents — including one in Stark County — tested positive for the virus while donating blood.

No fatalities were reported in the Akron area. Stark, Summit and Wayne counties each had one human case.

The numbers were the largest since 2002, when the first human case of West Nile virus was reported in Ohio. That year, the state had 441 documented human cases and 31 fatalities.

Last year, the state health department reported 21 human cases and one death.

Health officials have said this year’s hot and dry summer contributed to the increased West Nile risk for Ohio residents. The Culex mosquito that transmits the West Nile virus likes stagnant water that hasn’t been disturbed by fresh rainwater.

It remains to be seen whether Ohio will continue testing trapped mosquitoes for West Nile virus in the future.

According to an email distributed to local health officials by a state public health entomologist, funding isn’t available at this time to provide testing in 2013.

Test results are used by local health departments to target their mosquito spraying to areas where the virus is found.