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TriDistrict Students Research Healthcare Inequalities, Develop Action Steps

students presenting

Inspired by their class book, students in the TriDistrict Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS) Healthcare class researched inequalities in healthcare and developed steps toward resolving them. Students presented their findings and action steps to staff and faculty members of Dakota County Technical College (DCTC), Inver Hills Community College, Simley High School, South St. Paul High School, and Two Rivers High School. 

TriDistrict CAPS Healthcare students read Rebecca Skloot’s “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” this winter. While the book focuses on a medical phenomenon, it also highlights inequalities and ethical issues within the medical field. After reading the book, students wanted to research healthcare issues that they are passionate about. Students chose to research issues and inequalities related to topics like the cost of insulin, emergency services response times, and healthcare access for different populations, including women and immigrants.

In partnership with Rachel Roberson, Inver Hills Community College and Dakota County Technical College Vice President of Equity and Inclusion, and Dr. Edward Ehlinger, former commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Health, TriDistrict CAPS Healthcare students began their projects using Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR), an innovative approach to positive youth and community development. As part of the YPAR approach, students read through research and consulted with professionals to gain a better understanding of their chosen issue and outline actions that can be taken now to resolve it. 

Students presented their findings to their school communities and faculty from Inver Hills and DCTC. After their presentations, staff and faculty had an opportunity to ask questions and talk to each group in more depth about what they learned. 

The TriDistrict CAPS Healthcare class is one of many immersive carer classes offered to juniors and seniors at Simley High School, South St. Paul High School, and Two Rivers High School. In addition to the Healthcare class, TriDistrict CAPS offers Business and Entrepreneurship, Informational Technology and Computer Science, and Transportation and Skilled Trades. TriDistrict CAPS classes are concurrent enrollment courses, so students earn high school credit while gaining career experience alongside local professionals. 

Incoming juniors and seniors at Simley, South St. Paul, and Two Rivers can talk to their counselor now about enrolling in TriDistrict CAPS classes for 2023-2024.

Organizations that would like to learn more about TriDistrict CAPS or partner to train the next generation of professionals can visit or email TriDistrict CAPS Program Director, Ben Kusch, at


student discussing research with other students
students discussing research