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From left: Chloe Ward, Julia Veal, Keira Ulrich and Aubry Grauer take part in an intubation exercise during Operation Orange at OSU in Stillwater on June 1, 2021.
From left: Chloe Ward, Julia Veal, Keira Ulrich and Aubry Grauer take part in an intubation exercise during Operation Orange at OSU in Stillwater on June 1, 2021.

OSU-CHS' Operation Orange summer camp turns 10 years old

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Media Contact: Sara Plummer | Communications Coordinator | 918-561-1282 | sara.plummer@okstate.edu

Ten years ago, Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences launched a unique summer camp experience for secondary students living in rural communities in Oklahoma.

Operation Orange, a one-day traveling medical school summer camp, aims to spark or encourage an interest in medicine and health care in middle and high school students in communities outside the larger metropolitan areas in the state.

Participants practice chest compressions and putting in a breathing tube as well as run a medical simulation case on one of the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine’s high-fidelity manikins.

They will also learn about OSU-CHS’ Athletic Training program and preparing for medical school.

This year, Operation Orange will be traveling to Ada, Enid, Lawton, Stillwater and Tahlequah during the first two weeks of June.

When Operation Orange began, a groups of OSU medical school students, faculty and staff traveled to four communities to host the camps.

“The inaugural Operation Orange summer camps were a huge success. More than 150 middle and high school students from across Oklahoma had the opportunity to learn more about OSU’s medical school and interact with students and faculty,” said Ashley Adkins, who helped organize the camps in those first years and now serves as associate vice president of facilities management at OSU-CHS.

Operation Orange was started to ultimately recruit students in rural areas of Oklahoma to medical school.

“With our state facing a growing physician shortage, it has become imperative that we attract medical students who want to stay and practice in rural Oklahoma after completing their degree,” OSU-CHS President Johnny Stephens said. “One of the key factors that determine where physicians will set up their medical practice is where they were raised. Physicians who grew up in rural Oklahoma are more likely to practice medicine in a rural community.”

In the 10 years since Operation Orange started, the locations and number of communities visited each summer has changed and grown. For the past few years about 400 high school students have participated in the six camps offered across the state.

In fact, this summer, the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine at the Cherokee Nation in Tahlequah will host two Operation Orange camps — one for middle school students on May 31 and one for high school students on June 1.

“We wanted to give middle school and junior high students the chance to be involved and ignite that spark in medicine and believing that they can be doctors,” said Dylan Tucker, outreach coordinator at OSU-CHS.

For more information or to register for Operation Orange, go to okla.st/OpOrange. 

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