Local High School Students Work Alongside Medical Professionals in the LIFE Program
UPLAND, CA -This summer, six local high school students were selected for Reach Out’s highly competitive Women’s Health Focus LIFE Internship. With the generous support of the Guillermo J. Valenzuela Foundation, these future medical professionals completed internships at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, Mommy & Me Clinics, and private medical practices in the region.
The Learning Inspired Field Experience (LIFE) program is a healthcare internship program developed by the Inland Health Profession’s (IHPC) division of Reach Out that provides high school students with a comprehensive 40-60 hour hands-on internship experience to help prepare them for the working world. Now in its third year of offering this specialized program, over 200 students have participated in this unique opportunity to explore healthcare professions in a live medical setting. The internships are centered in San Bernardino County, a region experiencing a shortage in healthcare professionals and anticipating a population growth rate of 6.59% every five years (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010). In 2018 the United States Census recognized that women represented 50.2% of the population and there is a strong need for physicians specializing in women’s health.
Dr. Yara William, Director of Workforce at Reach Out, shared that many students are unaware of the specializations available and needed in women’s health. “It is our goal to reduce the shortage of healthcare professionals in this field and create opportunities for living wage careers for students in the Inland Empire.”, said Dr. William
Prior to beginning the internship, the students must complete an 8-hour pre-training led by IHPC staff that includes lessons on workplace professionalism, safety, patient privacy laws, and cultural competency in a medical setting. During the internship, the students build upon the knowledge they learned in training by shadowing and working with a variety of medical professionals including physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, medical assistants, genetic counselors, and ultrasound technicians. Emily Wick, a senior at Cajon High School, shared details about her experience and the impact the LIFE program had on her. “I’ve learned that having compassion, professionalism, and kindness towards anyone you interact with is imperative in the healthcare profession”, said Wick. “After completing this internship, I am confident that I want to pursue healthcare as a career.”
The program will continue to offer internships at a variety of medical sites across the Inland Empire. High school students who are interested in a health profession internship are encouraged to call Talene Zadekian at 909-982-8641 or email firstname.lastname@example.org information on how to apply.