In its seventh year, HCA continues to bolster graduation rates in local schools
(Wynnewood, Pa.) – The Health Career Academy program, which brings medical student mentors into high school classes, held its annual finale at Lankenau Medical Center’s Annenberg Center for Medical Education on Tuesday, April 5, 2016. The Health Career Academy, founded by Main Line Health and supported by Aetna, is flourishing again in its 7th year under the direction of Dr. Barry Mann, Chief Academic Officer of Main Line Health.
Tenth through twelfth grade students from greater Philadelphia area high schools work together in health care-related group projects, focusing on emergency room themes and public health issues. Medical students and staff from Drexel University College of Medicine, Sidney Kimmel Medical College, Temple University School of Medicine and Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine partnered with Main Line Health employees, volunteering their time in local high schools to help the students with their projects and to serve as role models from the health care industry.
“We are thrilled with the success of the Health Career Academy program,” said Phillip Robinson, President of Lankenau Medical Center. “Based on our most recent data, the Health Career Academy seems to be enhancing the high school graduation rate of the program’s participants. We hope that the curricular model we have established will continue to challenge and inspire the inquisitive minds of under-served students throughout the Delaware Valley, motivating participants to further their education and strive for gainful employment in health care. This is yet another demonstration of Main Line Health’s commitment to enhancing equity in care and careers in health care by proactively creating a pipeline for the next generation of health care professionals.”
At the finale, high school students presented group presentations on their selected topics: Diabetes (Overbrook High School), Pneumothorax (Esperanza Academy Charter High School), Facial Trauma and Depression (West Catholic Preparatory High School), Sexually Transmitted Infection and Teen Pregnancy (Martin Luther King High School, 11th grade class), Poor Gun Safety (Martin Luther King High School), Motor Vehicle Accident (Chester High School), Triage (Abraham Lincoln High School) and Violence Prevention (Overbrook High School, 11th grade class). Honorary judges Kathleen D. Martin, MSN, RN, Beverly Vaughn, MD and John Gruber presented awards to the schools for their performances. Vice President of Administration at Riddle Hospital, Jeshahnton (Shaun) Essex, served as moderator of the finale, interspersing in his remarks the wisdom obtained by being both a hospital administrator and parent of teenage children.
The Health Career Academy fosters relationships between medical and high school students, exposing high school students to subject matter they would not typically be learning in their normal course of study. The medical students are positive influences, proving the benefits of staying in school, while encouraging students to pursue careers in the field of health care. The overwhelming success of the Health Career Academy in the Delaware Valley has spurred expansion of this program beyond greater Philadelphia to Atlanta, Houston, Chicago, Durham, Berkeley and Los Angeles.