Health Career Workshop Inspires Students

Touro’s Health Career Opportunities Workshops nurture the potential of local high school students with immersive experiences and insights into a range of medical careers.

February 20, 2024
Dr. Prabjot Sandhu, Assistant Dean of the Director School of Nursing demonstrates vitals and medical procedures to students with a simulator mannequin
Dr. Prabjot Sandhu, Assistant Dean of the Director School of Nursing demonstrates vitals and medical procedures to students with a simulator mannequin

Touro University California (TUC) is helping bridge the gap between high school students and the world of health care through its Health Career Opportunities Workshops.

Two specific days were planned this semester with local students at Jesse Bethel and Vallejo High School for students enrolled in academies geared towards healthcare career paths.

Under the guidance of Dr. Lisa Norton, Dean of the College of Education and Health Sciences, and her dedicated team, this event inspires students to navigate the exciting yet often complex landscape of health care professions.

“We explain the differences in medical roles through the various sessions,” says Norton. “The reason I do this is because I love working with diverse youth and giving them pathways into whatever career they’re interested in.”

For well over a decade, TUC has been inviting local high school students to its campus for an immersive Health Career Opportunities Workshop. This half day on campus offers hands-on, interactive experiences that allows students to immerse themselves in medical professions. Both experiences are part of larger grants in which Touro mentors local youth weekly including the Youth in Action Project run by Dr. Annette Aalborg from Public Health and Touro alum Sammy Puebla and Hordofa Burka, and Dr. Norton’s and alumni Latasha Washington PATHs (Pathways to Achievement of Total Health in Students) at Mare Island Health and Fitness Academy 7th and 8th graders and 9th graders from Vallejo High School.

The day begins with a panel of current TUC students from different disciplines, sharing their personal journeys on how they reached their chosen paths, the motivations behind their choices, and the challenges they conquered. The students come from the colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, Nursing, Physician Assistant, Pharmacy, and Public Health. This provides high school students with real-world insights, making the prospect of a health care career more tangible and relatable.

One of the thought-provoking activities includes showing students a video of a basketball player named Kevin Ware sustaining two fractures in his leg. In response, students step into the roles of various health care providers, gaining specific insights into different health care careers, the duration of educational paths, and basic salary ranges.

A particularly dramatic session emulates the treatment of a gunshot wound on a simulated patient (complete with moaning and screaming), allowing students to grasp the essentials of vital signs and how traumatic injuries affect them. From there, students explore the field of pharmacy and public health through an interactive session, then finish the day with a view into the world of diabetes with Touro's mobile diabetes unit (MOBEC).

This year's workshop marked the introduction of the Health Careers and Opportunities Program (HCOP), which helps students from under-represented communities with academic support, mentorship, study skills, and scholarships to enter the health care field. Project managers from HCOP actively encourage students to consider this valuable opportunity that opens doors to degrees in medicine. Students were also presented with information on our new associate degree in Diagnostic Medical Sonography program which launches this Fall- now a direct pathway into Touro University California from high school. 

At the end of the workshop, students leave with insight and resources as valuable takeaways (along with backpacks with squishy brain toys and skeleton pens). The program is designed for community engagement, education equity, and a commitment to inspiring the next generation of medical professionals. By providing students with a tangible, immersive experience, the workshop isn’t just about giving tours of a campus; they're opening doors to futures filled with passion, purpose, and the pursuit of excellence in health care.