LOW MOOR — Ginni Phillips has been very productive in her relatively-new role as coordinator of the Alleghany Highlands Healthcare Advancement grant program.
Funded by a $497,756 Career and Technical Education High School Innovation Grant from the Virginia Department of Education, AHHA is designed to provide guidance to Alleghany and Covington high school students who are planning to enter the healthcare field after graduation.
AHHA helps students earn their diploma, industry certification, and associate degrees from a community college so they will be workforce ready.
A native of Spotsylvania County, Phillips was appointed by the Alleghany Highlands Public Schools Board as AHHA coordinator in August. She replaced Charity Hale after Hale was named as an assistant principal at Alleghany High School.
Phillips worked for the Virginia Department of Health for 22 years prior to joining Alleghany Highlands Public Schools. She also spent a year at Mountain Gateway Community College in Clifton Forge working with its educational Talent Search program. The program serves high school students within the MGCC service area who are identified as potential first-generation college students.
“I have a background as a public health nutritionist with the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts, and with Talent Search, I worked with high school students in this area to help them think about their educational priorities after high school. I have a passion for healthcare, and I have a passion for working with students who are in the high school age group,” Phillips said.
She graduated from Bridgewater College in 1999 with a double major in health science and nutrition and wellness. At the Virginia Department of Health, she was assigned to its Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children.
As AHHA coordinator, Phillips has used her public health background and her passion for providing guidance to high school students to help foster a partnership program between Alleghany Highlands Public Schools and Randolph-Macon College in Ashland. Advanced Healthcare Pathways is the first program of its kind in Virginia, and it is designed to give high school students an in-depth look at medical career options that require advanced education and training. These options include physicians, physical therapists, dentists, and others.
Similarly, an Advanced Health Care Assistant program at Mountain Gateway Community College aims to give high school seniors exposure to an array of careers in health care, including many that don’t require advanced education and training. That program is also affiliated with AHHA, and the community college is a partner in the AHHA grant.
“We want our high school students to know about the careers that are available in health care. We want them to know what jobs are out there and provide them with the resources to make a good career choice,” Phillips said.
AHHA’s purpose is to build upon strong local foundations of healthcare education through programs such as those available at Jackson River Technical Center. At its core, AHHA helps students recognize the various entry points to healthcare careers and helps them navigate opportunities available to help them make wise decisions that both refine their personal goals and lead to successful outcomes.
Phillips has been visiting with sophomores and guidance counselors at Alleghany and Covington high schools to gauge the students’ interest in healthcare careers. Field trips are being planned to provide students a chance to visit the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine in Roanoke.
Phillips is also working closely with Seth Bradley, the work-based learning coordinator for Alleghany Highlands Public Schools, to help support the work-based learning opportunities available at LewisGale Hospital-Alleghany, another key partner in the AHHA grant.
For more information on AHHA, contact Phillips at (540) 863-1700 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.