UNT Research, Volume 16, 2006 Page: 18
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The project's principal investigator, UNT's Allen Jackson, sees
PATHS as a step toward breaking the cycle of underrepresentation
in health science professions among Hispanics. The program,
which is under way in grades 9-12 at North Dallas High School
through 2007, could eventually serve as a model for intervention
in other Dallas public high schools. While it is targeted toward
Hispanic students, any student may participate.
"We've set up a program in the school that has three main
features," explains Jackson, Regents Professor of kinesiology, health
promotion and recreation.
PATHS supports a health science club that introduces stu-
dents to professionals in health care. It organizes and sponsors
field trips that bring students into educational settings in various
health-care fields. It also runs a program of healthy lifestyle classes,
specifically designed to be culturally appropriate, which fits into
the health curriculum of the school.
The basic concept behind the program is not only to provide
information, but also to offer firsthand experience that can encour-
age students to consider health and science professions, says
"We're talking about the students' feelings and expectations,"
explains Jackson. "The idea of being a biologist or nurse isn't on
the radar screen to many of them.
"Really, PATHS is a role-modeling and mentoring program,
he adds. "We involve people from the same culture and say, 'Hey,
you can do what I have done. Students have simply got to believe
'I can be successful at that. And it takes exposure to do that."
Direct exposure through guest speakers and field trips is
available to students who join North Dallas High School's Health
Science Club, an organization begun as part of the PATHS
program. Field trips have taken students to places such as the
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, the UNT bio-
logical sciences and chemistry departments, the nursing and
physical therapy schools at Texas Woman's University, the UNT
Health Science Center's anatomy laboratory, and Dallas' Cooper
Institute and Fitness Center.
"Students enjoy the field trips," says Eva Peia, the on-site
PATHS coordinator at North Dallas High School. "Not everyone
has the opportunity to experience university life, so this is a real
privilege for them. The students are very attentive and ask a lot
Importantly, students come away from field trips and club
presentations with broadened perspectives about what they might
do in the future, as reflected in their written comments, says Pefia.
48 l 2006 UNT RESEARCH
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University of North Texas. UNT Research, Volume 16, 2006, periodical, 2006; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29777/m1/18/: accessed August 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting University Relations, Communications & Marketing department for UNT.