More than 600 students to attend Health Occupation Students of America (HOSA) leadership conference March 11-12

Future nurses, doctors and dentists alike will join together for the 2016 West Virginia Health Occupation Students of America (HOSA) State Leadership Conference Friday, March 11, and Saturday, March 12, on Marshall’s University’s Huntington campus.

The university’s College of Health Professions has sponsored the conference since 2012.

Cyndy Sundstrom, WV HOSA state advisor, said over 600 students from nearby high schools and colleges will participate in 59 events ranging from creative problem solving to extemporaneous speaking.

"We have five categories: health science, health professions, leadership, emergency preparedness and teamwork," Sundstrom said. "These events were chosen because they teach students basic leadership skills as well as the employment skills our industry wants them to have."

Sundstrom said participants will get experience in various fields such as veterinary science, behavioral health, epidemiology and sports medicine. She said they also have added a new event for students interested in pharmacy.

"Marshall University School of Pharmacy is helping us pilot a brand new event called ‘Pharmacy Practice’ for the National HOSA conference, which will allow students to practice skills a pharmacy technician would have to do," Sundstrom said. "This is the first skills test we’ve offered that provides hands-on experiences for our future pharmacists."

Pam Meadows, assistant professor of clinical laboratory science at Marshall and an organizer of the event, said many people do not realize this is a completely student-run organization.

"All of the students are coming from different backgrounds with different skills with the same dream to be a health professional," Meadows said. "They share stories that motivate and inspire each other. They encourage their peers to join through the experiences they’ve had with HOSA."

HOSA_MedalsThe awards ceremony will take place Saturday, March 12. Participants will be awarded thousands of dollars in scholarships and tuition waivers from local community and technical colleges. First-, second- and third-place winners of this year’s WV HOSA conference are eligible to attend the International Leadership Conference this June at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville.

To learn more about the programs and services offered by the College of Health Professions, visit


Photos: Since 1976, HOSA Leadership Conferences have promoted career opportunities in the health care industry and enhanced the delivery of quality health care to all people. For over 10 years, Marshall University has served as a site for students across West Virginia to come and learn about various health professions available in this region.