Los Angeles Times Examines Health Career Programs in High Schools
The Los Angeles Times on Wednesday examined a trend among Los Angeles-area high schools to add specialized health career programs to their traditional college-preparatory curricula. The programs are intended to better prepare students for college and encourage them to pursue careers in health professions, according to officials at St. Mary's Academy, which this fall launched its Health Careers Program. The programs also are intended to give schools an advantage in recruiting students and, eventually, to help ease workforce shortages at area hospitals. St. Mary's, a Catholic all-girls school in Inglewood, started its program this year with the first class of 27 students selected based on their interest in the program, grades and attendance and behavior records. Participants arrive at school early once a week and spend an hour across the street at Daniel Freeman Memorial Hospital, learning about such topics as hospital administration, rehabilitation services, respiratory therapy, infection control and emergency procedures. By the time the students graduate in 2007, they will have gained knowledge of a variety of health care professions, volunteered at hospitals and clinics and tried some clinical procedures. "This is not in any way a vocational program," Jeanne Jagatich Fisher, director of the St. Mary's program, said, adding, "We think we can help them succeed with their college studies by exposing them to the wide range of health care professions, teaching them what each requires and helping them navigate through this vast and complex world." Other area schools with health career programs include the public Bravo Medical Magnet High School in Los Angeles' Eastside and the King Drew Magnet High School of Medicine and Science in South Los Angeles, both of which are affiliated with nearby public hospitals. Catholic Providence High School in Burbank and San Gabriel Mission High School also offer health careers programs (Merl, Los Angeles Times, 10/8).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.