Hennepin Healthcare program aims to get more kids of color interested in medical careers

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More than 100 students attended a career summit 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 ages 12-18 hands-on classes on work like dentistry and surgery. Some learned how to draw IVs or put in a breathing tube.

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

“They don’t know that they can do this, the world doesn’t tell them that they can,” Sederstrom said. “You can’t do what you can’t see.”

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

“I want to inspire people who are younger than me to, like, pursue their dreams and let them know there’s nothing to stop them,” Needhum said.

Black Women With Stethoscopes is just one of many classes to come. Hennepin Healthcare has already offered free trainings for Black teens interested in health careers.

The organizer of Sunday’s event said she is working on expanding the program to reach kindergarteners and up.