Not much grass grows under the feet of the hundreds of LIFE (Learning Inspired Field Experience) and White Coat students we work with. This is a transitional period in their lives and many are finishing high school and entering higher education - solidifying their goals and aspirations. That's why it's so good to hear from them now and again to see how they are doing. Mark Nguyen is one of these students who took time out of his busy college prep chat with us. He did his LIFE experience with Nephrologist Dr. Abid Hameed Khan.
DC Comics may not be the first (or the second) thing to come to mind when talking about mental health but for one former LIFE student, Carissa Myung, the parallels were easy to see: "The creators of Batman shaped, sewed, and strung [together] the villains who had psychological disorders and mental illnesses. For example, Harley Quinn, who started off as a nurse, has a shared psychosis with the Joker; and King Tut, who had been an Oxford professor, had delusions of grandeur...What frustrated me is that the comics often didn’t portray them as the real people. Rather, they were put into asylums, not psychiatric hospitals, and what do you expect when you treat people inhumanely?"
Though the analogy may not be for everyone, it's hard to ignore the basic premise that mental illness is often misunderstood, "villainized", and so stigmatized as to be whispered about in the corner. Carissa hopes to change all that and is majoring in cognitive science at UC Berkley. "I will either specialize in psychology or neuroscience and am specifically interested in behavioral and cognitive neuroscience. I plan on doubling in Public Health as well...Turning my passion into advocacy for mental health and social work would be a dream come true. "
Carissa is no stranger to IHPC - she has involved herself with many IHPC programs including PharmDay, Sports Medicine Day, LIFE at Parkview Community Clinic, and most recently #Adulting BootCamp. "I saw the boot camp as a way to give myself a one up, per se, especially since my AP courses in high school didn't emphasize real-world skills. It was at the boot camp that I learned soft skill development - from situational awareness to resume building. I’ve always done these things, but there’s a specific professional mindset I wasn’t tuned into, and the boot camp brought that into awareness."
Ms. Myung will be a college freshman this fall but is already active on campus. She has joined a community-minded group of young adults to form HOME (Health, Opportunities, Mind, and Education) which targets homelessness, mental health, education, and sustainable food. Having grown up in the Fontana/Rancho Cucamonga area, she plans to return to her native Southern California home upon graduation. After all, she's got a lot to do!
*Active Minds is the nation's premier nonprofit organization supporting mental health awareness and education for students.
This summer, Alia Caldwell, Outreach Specialist for IHPC, ran a LIFE (Learning Inspired Field Experience) cohort for some of our Riverside County students. One of these young people was Rossy Rodriguez whom we placed at the Riverside Medical Clinic. The day after Rossy completed her LIFE experience, Alia received an email from one of the medical assistants whom Rossy had shadowed, singing her praises. Although many of our LIFE hosts have a positive experience with our LIFE students, it's always wonderful when we can share their testimony with other potential LIFE hosts. Here is the email we received:
Last summer, Kacey Rosales, a determined and vibrant 17-year-old from Don Lugo High School received an internship at the Chino Hills Regional Reference Laboratory as part of the Kaiser Permanente Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP). They provide under-served or at-risk high school students with supportive and meaningful employment experiences in the healthcare field. Also known as LAUNCH (Learn About Unlimited New Careers in Healthcare), participants attend professional development and motivational workshops that introduce them careers in healthcare and then participate in a paid internship.
After a successful summer there Kacey started her Freshman year at Cal Poly Pomona majoring in Psychology. When the summer of 2018 rolled around, the folks at the Regional Reference Laboratory hadn't forgotten about Kacey and offered her a full-time summer position as an Administrative Specialist! With this being her first job, Kacey said:
During her time as an Administrative Specialist I, she has learned how to communicate with medical professionals, be on time to work, and schedule speakers for the new cohort of SYEP students. When asked if she had anything else to add, Kacey said, “I was told from a young age that I would not become anything, but being a 14-years-old in the Chino Police Department Explorer Program taught me that they sky’s the limit and the only thing holding you back, is yourself.” We are so proud of this future health professional and wish her much success as she pursues her health career!
Post Note: For the past two years, IHPC has played a role in the development of Kaiser's SYEP at the new Chino Hills Regional Reference Laboratory. Former Outreach Specialist, Ben Machado, worked closely with Elizabeth Castellanos, SYEP coordinator, to facilitate some of the trainings, promote the program, and help recruit, interview, and select health pathway students to participate. Consequently the lab opened their doors for two health site visits the following school year. This year, Outreach Specialist, Alyse Michaelis helped facilitate the 5-week professional development trainings as part of the program and looks forward to working with the lab on additional site visits during the school year. Programs like Kaiser's SYEP and IHPC, strengthen the health professions pipeline and we welcome other opportunities to partner with industry developing the next generation of skilled health professionals in our region.
Formerly known as the Pipeline Enhancement Program, or PEP, the new mental health pipeline program has had a name change to better express the program's purpose. Now called M.I.N.D. - Moving In New Directions, the change promotes a move toward openness and away from the stigma surrounding mental health. Cajon High School is spearheading MIND through the psychology and sociology classes taught by Mr. Chris Peters and Mrs. Christi Dow respectively. Now open to high school sophomores and upper classmen, there will be a campus wide kick off event this Wednesday, August 8th. MIND, as with PEP, will be headed up by Marwa Mohamed. She will be assisted by new Outreach Specialist, Kelsey Walker and together they look forward to creating a sustainable, evidence-based program for mental health pathways.
It's hard to know where to start the story of Yoonseo (pronounced yoon-say-oh) "Ted" Choi who joined the LIFE program in 2017. A bright, ambitious young man from Los Osos High School, Ted never turns down an opportunity to learn, and enthusiastically shadowed Dr. Stanley Kim, M.D., an oncologist and hematologist in private practice, for two weeks during his LIFE opportunity. The experience of watching Dr. Kim work with chemo patients, providing high-level care and compassion, proved to be the planting of a seed that Ted continues to water. Medicine was calling his name. After graduation, Ted was accepted to Duke University where he got certified as a researcher and assisted in a study at the Duke Research Center for children with autism and ADHD. The study, as part of the National Institutes of Health Autism Center of Excellence, looks at how to develop treatment options for kids with both autism and ADHD. He found the research "a lot of fun" and hopes to stay involved in research projects throughout his schooling.
If that weren't already impressive for a college Freshman, Ted then found an opportunity to do some medical missionary work with the Korean American Youth Adventist Missionary Movement (KAYAMM) over the summer break. Despite his fear of leaving the relative safety of the USA to work in an earth-quake-ridden, third world country, he took off to Dapcha, Nepal where he would work alongside doctors, nurses, dentists, and optometrists. Medical care in Dapcha is almost non-existent, giving Ted the rare chance to do some meaningful work.
Ted credits LIFE and his mission work in Nepal for cementing his decision to pursue medicine. For LIFE, shadowing an oncologist/hematologist was a great introduction to how a doctor works every day. Though the doctor he shadowed was semi-retired and had a large patient roster, he still tended to each person with diligence and care. It was through Dr. Kim, a private practice physician, that he was able to understand the dynamic between patient and doctor (and the importance of patient privacy)! Then, when he stood by the various doctors as they made their rounds in Nepal, the setting was less strange and unfamiliar.
Well said, young man! We know that one day we'll be calling him "Doctor Choi" and can't wait to see what he will do with the gifts of knowledge and compassion. We wish him success as he continues to find ways to serve and are glad that LIFE could be part of his journey.
The ever increasing demand for job and career preparation prompted IHPC to put together a special pilot program for high school students looking to give themselves that competitive edge. #AdultingBootcamp (#ABC) was promoted as a four-day professional development program open to any student looking to get hands-on training on interviewing skills, resume building, leadership, and more. The camp was held at the Reach Out offices in Upland and culminated in mock job interviews with staff at Western University of Health Sciences (WUHS).
Day 1: The students represented schools from across San Bernardino County, the youngest being just 14 years of age. The morning of check in they were greeted by IHPC staff dressed in all black t-shirts emblazoned with the #AdultingBootcamp in white lettering, and camouflage army caps. After a welcome and general session on what they could expect from the camp and the importance of soft skills, the students were divided into groups and dismissed to the first of four workshops on how to make a personal pitch, researching an organization, leadership, and doing a self-assessment.
Day 2 of the camp focused on situational awareness, interview etiquette, resume building, and preparing for the mock interviews. It was easy to see that these young people were committed to improving their skills and absorbing as much information as they could. They came dressed for success - the young men sporting crisp button-down shirts and ties; the young ladies wearing black skirts or tailored pant suits. At every workshop they listened attentively, took notes, and really engaged with the presenters. Michael Thomas, a job developer from America's Job Center of California was our expert speaker on how to build a resume. He presented the do's and don'ts of resume writing, some of which surprised the students. "If someone shows me their resume, the first thing I do is ask the question; 'what job or position are you applying for?'" "Resumes," he continued, "have to be tailored to the particular job, one size does not fit all."
Day 3 of boot camp, the students were greeted by a large yellow school bus which would take them to the Chino Valley Fire District. "Remember," Sonia Ventura, Outreach Specialist for IHPC announced, "that today we are going into someone else's home. Fire department personnel live, sleep, and eat where they work so when they open up their doors to us, it's like inviting us into their living room. We need to be quiet, respectful, and exercise proper etiquette." This admonishment, along with the dozen bagels and hot coffee that we took for the firemen, got the visit off to a great start. Fire Captain Joe Desoto was immediately impressed with the student's decorum. We arrived early, which the captain took notice of, and followed all instructions. "Captain Joe" as he is called, connected with the students during his presentation on interviewing skills. He spoke from personal experience as an employer having interviewed hundreds of potential rookies for the fire department. "If you don't remember anything else, remember this. You should be able to put your name on every job or task you do. If you can't proudly take the credit for a job, then you need to do it better." He further warned the students about the potential damaging effects of social media reminding them that once it goes online, it's there forever, which could impact your chances of getting a position. The visit wrapped up with a tour of the training grounds which include rooftops, underground tunnels, debris fields, vehicles, and a 4-story building meant to simulate apartment fires and attic environments. After a photo op, the students remembered to shake the Captain's hand and thank him for his time.
Wrapping it up on Day 4: The last morning of the camp there was a nervous buzz in the room as students put the finishing touches on their resumes, got last minute tips and encouragement from our staff, and checked their hair in the mirror. We were off to Western University of Health Sciences for the mock job interviews. This is an exercise meant to give students a feel for a real interview, so IHPC creates job scenarios based upon real-life positions at various health employers in the Inland region. The students are expected to review the job description, do online research on the organization, and then be prepared to discuss why they would be a good fit for the position. This helps them identify transferable skills and traits they already have, and give them a feel for what it typically asked in an interview. The students were introduced to their interviewers and then taken into separate rooms where a WUHS faculty member proceeded to review their resume, conduct the interview, and then provide immediate feedback on how the student did. The students enjoyed the exercise so much, many of them asked if they could do it again with a different interviewer! Unfortunately there wasn't time, but they did receive a certificate of recognition, an #ABC t-shirt, and a goody bag from WUHS for completing the camp.
When asked how we could improve the camp for next year, they were eager to offer both compliments and constructive feedback. Their biggest "complaint"? -- that the boot camp wasn't long enough! "We'd like you to extend the camp an extra day and incorporate some team building. We've learned so much, but one more day would really be great." Well, we think that's the best feedback we couldn't ever gotten.
Thank you to all of these students who have found a special place in our hearts. We couldn't be more proud of their decision to come to camp and take a step toward their futures. One mom, told us that in just a few short days she noticed her daughter's level of self-confidence and grown by leaps and bounds. "Thank you so much for doing this, she said. I can't believe the difference it's made for her."
Post note. Due to the success of the program, Adulting Bootcamp will be offered again in the 2018/19 school year. Visit the IHPC calendar at inlandcoalition.org/events.
Aidan's words rang true to the room full of parents, teachers, and staff gathered at Eleanor Roosevelt High's Career Center to recognize the eighteen students who completed the LIFE (Learning Inspired Field Experience) program. As the students stood up to share their experiences, you could see the confidence they had gained - a sense of purpose in their eyes. This is what the LIFE program is all about - giving students from all walks of life an opportunity that will propel them into a successful healthcare career.
The Corona-Norco Unified School District (CNUSD) cohort had sixteen HS seniors and two juniors complete the 40 hours of field experience in different clinical settings including Norco Urgent Care, Kinematics of Norco, Riverside Medical Clinic in Eastvale and Corona, and the Queen of Hearts Therapy Ranch in Jurupa Valley. As part of the program, the students undergo an extensive application, onboarding, and training program as well as coordinated supervision and mentoring throughout their time. Each LIFE student is required to journal their experience and receive a wrap up evaluation by their host supervisor.
LIFE is having a profound affect on students across our region, providing them with an invaluable experience and essential life skills to propel them into a successful healthcare career. Not only do they reflect the diversity of our region, they are its future. The early success of the program is a reflection of the collaboration, between industry and education, that is needed to prepare the next generation for service.
By the region; for the region: The Guillermo J. Valenzuela Foundation has been doing their part to support this effort through educational scholarships, and have renewed their commitment to IHPC for the 2018/19 school year with another generous donation of $30,000! This will allow us to continue providing educational support for LIFE students as they move from high school into college and beyond. A combined total of $5,000 was awarded to the CNUSD LIFE cohort with the top three students receiving $500 each. IHPC will continue to seek industry partners to help us develop a strong health workforce pipeline to serve the Inland Empire.
Our heartfelt gratitude goes out to everyone who supported the CNUSD LIFE program this past school year. To the clinics (represented by Griselda and Sam from Norco Urgent Care), the Valenzuela Foundation, the dedicated teachers (represented by Sandi Uribe), and the school administration (represented by Assistant Principal, Dr. Taylor), thank you for joining hands with IHPC to make a difference!
PS: Gloria Coder, the Outreach Specialist for CNUSD, received an email from these LIFE students on their High School graduation day, proudly wearing their LIFE stoles and thanking her for the opportunity.
"Thank you so much for the stoles and the LIFE experience. It was an honor to wear these at our graduation!" Aleea, Justice, and Ashley.
In its 9th year, Reach Out was proud to host the National Innovative Communities Conference at the Ontario Convention Center. The two-day conference, focused on the health and wellbeing of our communities, provided training, networking, and informative resources to hundreds of stakeholders across the region. What makes this conference so unique is its true reflection of the Inland Southern California landscape. County and city government representatives mingled and networked with educators, parents, law enforcement, business owners, non-profits, and faith-based organizations. In the spirit of collaboration, the Inland Empire Healthy Cities Summit was imbedded into the programming, providing leaders from both Riverside and San Bernardino counties the opportunity to convene and discuss ways to improve the region's health outcomes through policy initiatives.
This year was structured to provide something for the entire family with workshops for parents, a youth track for the teens, and day care services provided by Reach Out's Nurturing Parenting Program. There were over 50 unique sessions offered including several plenaries that addressed critical topics like domestic violence, teen drug use, immigration, coalition building, the future of technology, community health work, city planning, positive parenting, and much, much more. IHPC headed up the youth track with topics like mental health, suicide prevention, leadership, overcoming obstacles, social media awareness, and healthcare careers.
The entertainment was not to be missed this year with special live performance art by acclaimed artist Gregory Adamson who paints upside to music, often using his bare hands. The canvas is then turned right side up to reveal a finished painting. The conference ended with a young Aztec dance troupe whose rhythmic drums, intricate costumes and colorful head pieces mesmerized the crowd. It was a beautiful culmination to a conference that reflects the diversity of our region. The time we had together flew by way too fast and before we knew it we were headed home with new friends, a wealth of information, and a renewed commitment to the place we call home - Inland Empire.
Yucaipa High School's Health and Biomedical Science Academy (HBS), led by the academy's lead teacher, Tana DeLeon, were at times overwhelmed with emotion as they celebrated the first graduating class. The medical academy, launched in 2014, has seen challenges, but the dedication and perseverance of the teachers, counselors, and administration brought them to this night of recognition and cheers for the students.
The Inland Health Profession Coalition is proud of the YHS Health and Biomedical Science Academy for this tremendous milestone. While we have worked closely with HBS over the last year to provide work-based learning experiences, Tana has been actively involved in the San Bernardino Metro Nexus meetings, making connections, and advocating for her school and students. She has also provided valuable input and ideas for other schools in the region.
Tana and the Yucaipa HBS Academy team are a shining example of a school in the Inland Empire that has worked hard to establish a medical career academy and has witnessed great success over the past four years. As HBS Academy moves into its fifth year and expects to enroll over 120 students in the Freshman class of 2018/19.
On behalf of Luke Ridout, the Outreach Specialist for YHS, and the rest of the Inland Health Professions Coalition we want to congratulate the Class of 2018. We hope to see them meeting the needs of their community in the near future!