Theresa Swope


AUBURN -- A professor of veterinary medicine and several health profession students at Auburn University have introduced a fun and interesting way to get young minority students interested in health-related careers -- using a coloring book and crayons.

Tiffany Cal, a third-year veterinary student, and Alchar Gray, who recently graduated from Auburn, began the project nearly two years ago as an entry for a paper competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

After Gray's graduation, fourth-year nursing student Tiffany Stewart joined the team, which has been coordinated by Dr. Charles Hendrix, professor of pathobiology at the College of Veterinary Medicine.

"I learned about the competition through Dr. Hendrix. I wanted to get young minority kids interested in health professions," Cal said. Minorities are underrepresented in health professions, said Cal

"They (minority children) just need encouragement," she said. "They need to know that studying in elementary school and high school can prepare them for a career later on."

Cal said the coloring book features activities and puzzles relating to careers in the health profession and pictures of prominent people currently in those fields, such as 1990 Miss America Debbie Turner who is now a veterinarian, Surgeon General David Satcher and his associate, Beverly Malone.

Cal said she hopes the book will encourage minority children to consider a career in one of the health-related fields and to begin studying for it now.

"Not everyone has a parent or teacher to encourage them and help them understand that studying now will help them in a career later on," she said.

Cal said she hopes the book will eventually become a nationwide offering.

"Even if I graduate before it's done, I hope our idea will be completed into a (bound) coloring book, printed and sent out to elementary schools across the country," she added.

The first step toward that distribution took place Jan. 26 when Hendrix and the students presented the first issue of the coloring book to John Bello-Ogunu, AUs assistant provost for multicultural affairs.

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CONTACT: Hendrix, 334/844-2688; Cal, 334/501-2026; and Bello-Oguno, 334/844-4184.