Western University of Health Sciences’ Pomona Health Career Ladder (PHCL) is moving into new territory with the addition of eighth-grade biomedical scholars. For those who started as a sixth-grade academy student, it marks their third year in the program, which begins Oct. 16, 2010.

PHCL workshops are geared toward Pomona Unified School District (PUSD) sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders aspiring to become health care professionals. Incoming sixth-grade academy students will join seventh- and eighth-grade biomedical scholars in six fun and informative Saturday workshops on the WesternU campus in Pomona, Calif.

This will be the biggest year yet, as PHCL adds another tier of students, said Elizabeth Rega, PhD, Director of Strategic Alliances and Special Projects. About 200 students and their parents are expected to be part of workshops this academic year.

WesternU students and faculty members have developed curriculum that will help students and parents, who are required to attend, demystify medical education. They will get assistance from biomedical scholars who will help teach younger students through leading workshops of their own.

Second-year College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific student Shana Nelson said she is excited about all the hands-on workshops. She said the eighth-grade academy’s first workshop will allow them to learn the anatomy and function of the brain, practice deep tendon reflexes, learn about two-point discrimination experiments, and view real cadaver brains.

“”Right now, these students are just beginning to prepare for high school, a pivotal point in choosing a career,”” said Nelson, the Eighth-Grade Scholar Coordinator. “”I think the workshops and lectures will make them enthusiastic about pursuing and continuing their education in health sciences.””

Saturday workshops for the 2010-11 academic year are scheduled from 8:45 a.m. to noon at WesternU’s Health Professions Center, 521 E. Third Street.

The session themes are: “”An Introduction to Health Careers”” on Oct. 16; “”Cardiovascular Health”” on Nov. 13; “”Fitness & Sports Injuries”” on Dec. 4; “”Microbiology”” on Jan. 22, 2011; “”Health Careers”” on March 5, 2011; and “”Community Health”” on April 16, 2011.

PHCL is a joint effort between PUSD, WesternU and California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.

For more information or to apply, please visit the Pomona Health Career Ladder website, or call Jaime Servin at (909) 469-8239.