High Schoolers Study Medical Terminology in Dual Program

Big Dreams, Big Words for These High School Students

Otitis media.
Cerebrovascular accident.
Sphygmomanometer.

Say all of the above three times FAST – especially that last word (pronounced sfig-moh-muh-nom-i-ter). Now, what do they all mean?

Just ask one of the Lutheran High School South students enrolled in a new “foreign” language course — medical terminology. These students dually enroll at LHSS and Maryville University, and take the same medical terminology course as Maryville students.

The high school students enrolled in this advanced, college-level course plan to pursue careers in health care. They take the course for credit in an online format. With the support of a lead instructor, the Lutheran South students learn how to manage their time, meet testing deadlines and complete learning tasks virtually, all within an activity-rich online setting.

Nearly 6 million college students have at least one online course as part of their typical course load, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics.

“Those Lutheran South students who participate in this class will have a marked advantage in their future college careers, where they will likely need to perform in a virtual manner,” says Ashlyn Cunningham, OTR/L, assistant professor of occupational therapy at Maryville, who helped design the partnership. Cunningham is the parent of a Lutheran South student, and an alumna of the school.

Lutheran South recognized a need to support students who desired to pursue health or medical vocations in 2015, and created a Health Professions Program to allow students to tailor their high school curriculum to include courses which would help prepare them for college.

The partnership with Maryville launched the following year, with a specific focus on offering practical lab experiences as part of the Medical Careers Exploration course. During this field experience, students travel to Maryville’s campus to participate in lab training, assisted by Cunningham and her husband, Robert Cunningham, PhD, OT/L, ATP, who directs Maryville’s occupational therapy program, and Maryville students who hone their own skills while supporting Lutheran South students in their learning.

“Lutheran South and Maryville University are well-matched in the partnership,” says Cunningham. “Both schools are committed to student-centered, active learning environments, and both provide technology-rich learning options — each having 1:1 iPad programs.”