U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp plans to spend much of Thursday in Devils Lake at a number of events.

U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp plans to spend much of Thursday in Devils Lake at a number of events.

Scrubs Camp
First the senator will be on hand for the opening ceremonies for the Scrubs Camp being held at Lake Region State College where area students can get a taste of the many different career paths available in the medical professions.

They are expecting 300 (or more) fifth graders to attend.
The day is put on by the NESC and UND Rural Health at LRSC.
Member schools in the NESC include Dakota Prairie, Devils Lake, Edmore, Four Winds, Lakota, Langdon, Leeds, Maddock, Minnewaukan, Munich, North Star, Oberon, Rolette, St. Joseph’s Elementary, Starkweather, Tate Topa Tribal School, Warwick, and Wolford. Lake Region Special Education and Lake Region State College are cooperating members. Cankdeska Cikana Community College,  Lake Area Career & Technology Center,  Minot State University, North Dakota School for the Deaf, Train ND Northeast, and UND are collaborative partners.
With NESC – Devils Lake as the lead applicant, Devils Lake has been selected as the site of a Rural Collaborative Opportunities for Occupational Learning in Health (R-COOL-Health) Scrubs Camp. Heitkamp will welcome the student attendees.

The R-COOL-Health Scrubs Camps aim to increase awareness, interest and understanding of health careers available in rural North Dakota through creative and interactive activities with hands-on experiences in several different health career tracks. This will inform the students of the many career options available in healthcare, particularly locally.
“Research has shown that growing your own is an effective way of meeting rural health care workforce needs,” says Lynette Dickson, MS, RD, LRD, associate director at the Center for Rural Health. “These camps are great examples of how community organizations can work collaboratively to inspire local youth to pursue a career in health care.”
The current and projected shortage of health care professionals in North Dakota and across the nation is creating a critical demand for an increased health care workforce. A national shortage of at least 124,000 physicians and 500,000 nurses is projected by 2025.
Collaborative organizations in this effort include Northeast Education Services Cooperative, Mercy Hospital, UND Music Therapy, Bell Drug, Dakota Nursing Program, Lake Region State College, Valley Med Flight and Forward Devils Lake.
Heitkamp’s morning will also include a tour of Lake Region State College and participation in an economic development roundtable discussion over the lunch hour.

Devils Lake Fire Department
In the afternoon Heitkamp will tour the Devils Lake Fire Department and speak with local leaders about supporting North Dakota’s first responders so they have the training and resources they need to keep their communities safe.          
Heitkamp will have the opportunity to see new Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting Truck that can respond to potential demands of the region’s growing airport. The Federal Aviation Administration provided the            majority of the funding to purchase this new fire truck for Devils Lake.

CHI Mercy Hospital
Following that, she will then tour CHI Mercy Hospital to discuss the challenges and needs of rural health care and opiate abuse. Heitkamp will also discuss her work to combat drug and opiate abuse in North Dakota, including her             efforts in the U.S. Senate to help pass a landmark bipartisan bill to comprehensively tackle the nation’s heroin and opioid abuse crisis. Heitkamp has also been working through her Strong & Safe Communities                                 Initiative to combat drug abuse and crime in North Dakota.

R-COOL-Health Scrubs Camps are taking place in nine different cities across North Dakota, with participants attending from 59 different communities. This is the seventh year the camps are being funded by the Center for Rural Health at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences and the North Dakota Area Health Education Centers. Partnering with schools, health care facilities and economic or job development authorities is a requirement of the project, in order to increase collaborations and awareness of the economic impact of health care in North Dakota.