The 125,000 members of the Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) have a new national president – Claire Lucas ‘13, an industrial engineering major at NC State University. Lucas, a Park Scholar and University Scholar, has already met with Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, and Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) to discuss health care issues – and she’s only getting started.
As national president, Lucas plans to position the organization so that it will play a role in impacting the future of health care in this country.
“Without question, quality health care is essential for the future,” Lucas said. “Providing the necessary resources to foster the development of the next generation of health care professionals will directly address the shortage of professionals in our field.”
The passage of the Health Care Professional Pipeline Act, or H.R. 2946, will be key to Lucas’s vision. The bill will assist in better preparing students for careers as health care professionals and will create health-related volunteer opportunities.
“With this Act, HOSA can become further integrated into the health science curriculum,” she said.
Lucas is also interested in expanding services for the 1.7 million alumni of the organization. In her role, Lucas will oversee the implementation of a plan developed by HOSA national officers to enhance alumni outreach and support. This plan involves the use of a new website and social networking tools so that HOSA can offer increased professional development opportunities for its alumni.
Lucas serves as HOSA’s chief ambassador, traveling around the country representing the organization. She recently returned from a health science curriculum conference in Minneapolis where she met with individuals on the district and state levels about how HOSA can be integrated into the classroom to effectively teach health science concepts, and used outside the classroom as a vehicle for students to enhance their education.
Her next responsibility will involve attending the Aspen Institute’s Health Stewardship Symposium in Washington, D.C and working alongside members of the Aspen Institute Coalition to address the next steps in health care reform and key implications of the new federal law.
Currently, Lucas is working with fellow Park Scholar Chris Carr (’12) to establish the first annual North Carolina HOSA Collegiate Leadership conference this spring. HOSA members representing colleges and universities across the state will spend a day on the NC State campus discussing health care policy, leadership, and career opportunities.
Beyond HOSA, Lucas serves as the assistant director and workshop coordinator for the Triangle Youth Leadership Conference and the program facilitator for the student organization ShoeManity. Recently, she was the co-chair for Learning Lab II, an experiential learning program where Park Scholars explored the issue of the quality of K-12 education in Washington, D.C.
Soon, she will begin undergraduate research in her major, working with her Park Faculty Mentor Dr. Brian Denton to study effective treatment plans for individuals with diabetes.
As far as her plans for after graduation are concerned, Lucas’s experiences inside and beyond the classroom are shaping her career possibilities.
“I know I enjoy health care, forming ideas into a solution, project management, and problem solving,” she said. “I am still trying to create a plan that will incorporate all of my passions.”