February 5, 2016 – For five weeks, 30 Sierra Middle School students will experience life in the medical field through the Kaiser Permanente Hippocrates Circle.
“This program interests me because I want to be a doctor or veterinarian and this is an experience I want to be in,” said 8th grade student Riley Pohl. “I’m really looking forward to the next few weeks.”
The five week program is designed to motivate under-represented students towards careers as physicians by providing interactive venues between them and physicians.
“Ten years ago we made the decision to make sure kids are inspired and exposed to the medical profession,” said Kristin Weber, Senior Community Event Specialist for Kaiser Permanente. “Our demographics present a very diverse population here in southern California. We are looking at ways to enhance our physician pool and trying to get those kids from the neighborhoods we serve to become doctors.”
The group will be visiting San Joaquin Community Hospital where they will perform mock orthoscopic procedures. They will also visit Kaiser Permanente medical offices where they will have the opportunity to learn how to cast.
“It’s their favorite part of the year,” said Weber. “They get to put real casts on each other’s arms. Then they cut it off and they get to take the cast home.”
This is the fourth consecutive year that Sierra Middle School is selected as the partner school for the program in Bakersfield. Students are selected based on academic achievement, interest in the medical field, and availability during the five week course.
“Part of what they want is to have kids who are part of this program come back and serve their communities,” said Javier Arambula, Outreach Specialist at Sierra Middle School. “We were very interested in participating and grateful to be chosen because anything we can do for our students, we want to do.”
But the five-week program isn’t just for students. Parents are invited to attend the orientation session, where they not only learn about the program, but about resources available to assist with the cost of medical school.
“My daughter just entered this program and I tell her that I’m very proud of her,” said Raul Bolaños, parent of a Sierra student in the program. “It’s important as a parent to stay involved so that our children can see that we care about them and their education, and we are here to support them.”
The five week program will conclude on February 28, 2016 with a graduation ceremony at the Kaiser Permanente Ming Avenue Medical offices.