Hennepin Healthcare program aims to attract more girls of color into medical careers

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More than 100 students attended a career summit on Sunday designed to encourage women of color to enter the medical field.

The inaugural Black Women With Stethoscopes event hosted by Hennepin Healthcare offered young women aged 12 to 18 hands-on lessons in jobs like dentistry and surgery. Some learned how to pull IVs or put on a breathing tube.

Dr. Nneka Sederstrom, head of health equity at Hennepin Healthcare, said her goal was to address the lack of diversity in hospital staff.

“They don’t know they can do it, the world isn’t telling them they can,” Sederstrom said. “You can’t do what you can’t see.”

Nevaeh Needhum, a ninth grader, was one of many girls to attend Sunday’s session.

“I want to inspire people younger than me to pursue their dreams and let them know there’s no stopping them,” Needhum said.

Black Women With Stethoscopes is just one of many upcoming courses. Hennepin Healthcare has previously offered free training to black teens interested in healthcare careers.

The organizer of Sunday’s event said she is working to expand the program to reach children in kindergarten and up.

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