SEAHEC Future Healthcare Leaders Program
Nogales, AZ | Submitted by Gail Emrick
SEAHEC’s Future Healthcare Leaders (FHL) Program prepares, encourages and assists youth from our rural border and tribal communities for careers in healthcare. Our emphasis on “Growing Our Own’ healthcare providers increases the number of youth who enter the healthcare field and increase those who are culturally and linguistically well suited to meet the needs of the population they will serve.
The FHL Program works in partnership with local high schools in rural border and tribal communities – offering high school health career clubs, known as “Future Healthcare Leaders”. There are eight clubs in Pima, Santa Cruz and Cochise counties, with over 150 members. Each school has an on-site facilitator, who works in close collaboration with SEAHEC. The FHL Program works in partnership with schools, agencies and networks which support youth, including local Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs), community health centers, colleges and universities
The FHL Program promotes health career aspirations and higher education by:
1. Utilizing local health professionals to serve as guest speakers and mentors to inspire young people to dream, plan and achieve their educational and professional goals;
2. Engaging young people in the exploration of math, science and health issues while exposing them to academic skills necessary for a successful college and professional experience- such as critical thinking and problem solving ;
3. Preparing youth for higher education providing information and guidance on applying for college and financial assistance; including college tours; and
4. Engaging youth in leadership development through our “Future Healthcare Leaders Summer Camp”, where students learn about research, cultural competence and community health needs in the local context.
As you can see from our approach, SEAHEC’s FHL Program both reflects and embraces strategies of the Expect More Arizona building blocks.
FHL promotes WORLD CLASS ACHIEVEMENT, as we prepare students for success in college and health careers.
FHL promotes EXCELLENCE FOR ALL with cultural representation and cultural competency at the core of why we do what we do. By growing our own health care providers who reflect the cultural diversity of our rural, tribal and border communities, our communities’ health needs are better served.
FHL is COMMITTED TO INNOVATION as we encourage critical thinking and problem solving throughout the development of our youth, in their educational and professional goal setting, community health research projects and beyond.
Finally, the FHL program promotes COMMUNITIES WORKING TOGETHER through our partnerships with schools, administrators, teachers, parents, students and youth-supporting networks and agencies.
Our results speak for themselves. In 2011, we began a quality assurance system, which enables us to follow our students beyond high school graduation to document their educational achievements and, down the line, their career choices. In a sample of 10% of our students analyzed so far, SEAHEC’s FHL program demonstrated that 98% went on to college or university and, of those, approximately 50% chose a health profession as their field of study.