Each summer, in partnership with Duke Clinical Education and Professional Development & the Duke University Health System’s Office of Community Relations, the Duke AHEC Program coordinates a summer internship for twelve rising seniors from the City of Medicine Academy. The internships provide the students opportunities to experience first-hand the work that happens within the hospital. The interns are placed in direct patient care areas as well as in administrative areas depending on their interest and available preceptors. Each intern completes 100 hours of observation, which includes fulfilling orientation requirements, like completing HIPAA, OSHA, fire safety, and confidentiality training.

In the summer of 2015, Duke AHEC had the pleasure of working with Zakeyah Gear as an intern. Zakeyah has known she wanted to be a pediatrician since she was eight years old. “I want to know my patients by name,” she says. “I want to be able to help them—not only with medicine and care, but also as a person.” Zakeyah interned in an adult medicine inpatient unit this summer. Her preceptor, Vonda Capps, nurse manager at Duke Hospital, stated, “She’s got heart. She understands what a difference a provider can make in someone’s life.”

Zakeyah has taken advantage of other Duke AHEC Health Careers activities to assist her in exploring career interests. For two consecutive summers, she has participated in the Health Occupations Progression Experiential (H.O.P.E.) Program, which is partially funded the Duke AHEC Program.   H.O.P.E. is designed for 1st generational college bound rising juniors and seniors and provides student career assessment tools, SMART goal planning, health occupations exploration, and post-secondary progression planning.