The staff of ODCE plans and coordinates the K-12 Initiative. The Future Health Professionals Network Advisory Committee, an assembly of professionals, provides community involvement and advises the ODCE on various program activities. The Initiative has several components.
- Science Clubs in the Schools: Since 1985, the Office of Diversity and Community Engagement, formerly the Office of Community & Minority Health Education, has worked with area high schools in an effort to increase students' knowledge of and interest in the sciences, and particularly in the health professions. The clubs intend to meet the motivational needs of disadvantaged students who lack exposure to minority role models and develop an awareness of the relationship of science and health careers. Throughout the year, students hear lectures by LSUHSC faculty and students, alumni, community professionals and leaders.
- Career Awareness Days: Middle and high school students are brought to LSU Health Sciences Center for a full-day and given faculty overviews of medicine, nursing, dentistry, allied health, veterinary medicine, and pharmacy, followed by lunch with community physicians and interactive tours of laboratories given by basic scientists.
- Competition Days: ODCE sponsors an 8-hour event conducted at LSUHSC. Science Clubs compete for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in essay writing, outstanding science club member, outstanding health poster, vocabulary and terminology drills, extemporaneous speaking, and problem solving. LSUHSC faculty and students and community physicians serve as judges for contests.
- Summer Science Program (SSP): This is a 5-week program for high school students who come to LSUHSC from around the state to experience an academically enriching environment and participate in educational and motivational activities. Students are exposed to biomedical research, and have hands-on experience in medicine, nursing, dentistry, allied health and other health fields. Call 504-568-8501 for an application.
- Science Enrichment Program (SEP): An after-school program for thirty (30) 7th graders at a McDonough #35 College Prep High School. SEP is for 7th graders who have expressed an interest in heath careers and enjoy math and science. The classes, held at McDonough #35 two days per week for one-hour sessions, will not only sharpen science and mathematics skills but also improve test-taking skills for the 8th grade LEAP exam. High School Science Club members and LSU School of Medicine minority medical students serve as SEP tutors.
- Junior Summer Science Program (JrSSP): A 4-week summer hands-on research experience at LSUHSC for ten (10) SEP students to apply learned science and mathematics principles in a biomedical laboratory setting. The instructor for the program will be the SEP teacher.