Students gain insight into health care

JAMESTOWN — Eight pre-med students recently began an eight-week summer with Chautauqua Works Workforce Development Board’s Healthcare Career Advantage Talent Pipeline Development Program, gaining insight into the medical field.

Based at UPMC Chautauqua WCA and other area health-care agencies, the pre-med students — Brad Brown, Santana France, Haylie Birt, Tessa Alianell, Ashley Moulton, Jon Scroxton, Zachary Eklum and Nick Carlson — rotated through both clinical and non-clinical areas of the local hospitals and physician medical office practices. Each participant is eligible for a six- to eight-week paid internship.

The program has served more than 400 aspiring health care students from six school districts by introducing them to health care career possibilities through interactive workshops, career fairs, as well as paid internships in the health care field. The program matches young adults pursuing a career in the direct patient care health care field with local health care providers to provide interns with valuable experience, develop lasting relationships and promote potential future employment opportunities.

Katie Geise, executive director of Chautauqua Workforce Investment Board, said the program increases awareness of and interest in local physician opportunities.

“Our program is a great opportunity for students to gain experience and build connections with our community’s future workforce. We are so fortunate to be able to offer these opportunities through grants awarded by the Sheldon Foundation, Chautauqua Region Community Foundation and Gebbie Foundation,” she said.

Based on the student’s interest, the experiences could include exploring different departments within the hospital and/or clinics, observation and participation in physician offices and study of the function of health-related agencies and institutions within the community. During the eight-week orientation, the eight pre-med students observed in cardiology/catheteriz-ation lab, emergency, respiratory, obstetrics and gynecology, radiology, general and orthopedic surgery, anesthesiology, bariatric care and physicians’ medical specialty practices in the area.

“The orientation is a mutually beneficial program for the students and participating hospitals and physicians. It gets students out of the books and into the hospital and physician offices where they can see patient care through the eyes of the provider,” Daniel W. Tota, director of physician services, UPMC Chautauqua WCA and internship program coordinator, noted. “The students are able to discover career options, gain first-hand experience into the medical profession and build professional ties to our community.”