Med students aim to inspire with outreach program

Frantzlee LaCrete

Frantzlee LaCrete

As Frantzlee LaCrete, a fourth-year medical student, nears the end of his medical school career, his focus is on those who'll follow in his footsteps.

When the office of DEI at the College of Medicine wanted to pilot a new outreach program to local high school students interested in careers in health care, LaCrete, was eager to participate and stepped up to help lead the initiative.LaCrete is the founding student leader of REACH (Recruit, Encourage and Advance Careers in Healthcare) — an effort by the DEI office at the college of medicine in collaboration with UNMC medical students to increase interests in health care to local high school students.

LaCrete said the program was successful in its inaugural year. This past spring, the program was piloted with 10th grade students at Benson High School in the first year of the Health Professions Academy. UNMC medical students delivered a series of lectures to high school students enrolled in the Health Academy program. Shirley Delair, MD, associate dean of DEI in the UNMC College of Medicine, is the faculty advisor for the program.

"The students were very engaged, even though the lectures were delivered in a virtual format," LaCrete said.

The three lectures covered an introduction to medicine, an introduction to hands-only CPR and an introduction to medical ethics. The program delivered the CPR lecture in an ambitious virtual format, livestreaming a simulation from the Davis Global Health Center's simulation room and with the collaboration of the iExcel team

"In each of the lectures, an increasing awareness was made about the current health disparities and the need for a diverse health care workforce to address the disparities," LaCrete said. "The students also were encouraged to apply for the University of Nebraska at Omaha Urban Health Opportunities Program (UHOP) and other UNMC and college programs."

UHOP aims to diversify the urban Nebraska health care workforce by identifying and preparing qualified students from underrepresented groups to enter and succeed in health professions training. In order to be eligible for the UHOP, students need to be high school seniors, residents of Nebraska and planning to attend UNO. Upon acceptance into the program, as long as the students meet the requirements of the program, they have guaranteed acceptance into UNMC College of Medicine and tuition assistance at UNO.

Though this past spring the focus of REACH was encouraging medicine as a career, the program will expand this fall, based on student feedback and Health Academy mission, to an interprofessional approach in health career exploration to help expose students to a broader range of health careers.


  1. Jessica Tschirren says:

    Great work!!! Love seeing our young leaders reaching back to the community!!

  2. Beth Beam says:

    Super cool…this is how you start to make change. Little moments. Inspiration. Well done.

  3. Giovanni Jones says:

    Well done… Well done indeed!

  4. Catherine Mello says:

    What a great program. Thanks for all your hard work, Frantzlee and all!

Comments are closed.