March 2018
Your monthly news & updates
This update from the Center for Healthier Communities at Rady Children’s Hospital, San Diego, is focused on our health career pathway programs for high school students and provides our quarterly update. These programs address two very important goals for Rady Children’s: contributing to positive youth development and training our next generation of health care leaders. FACES for the Future and Bridge to Employment are school-based programs in City Heights that support and encourage high risk youth in underserved communities to pursue post secondary education and careers in health care. Training and support leading to careers offering livable wages and upward mobility result in economic advancement and healthier communities.   The programs include academic enhancements, personal and professional development, wellness support, hands-on career experience and alumni support.   The Summer and Weekend Medical Academies are tuition-based, intensive, time-limited programs for high school students throughout San Diego County and beyond who have an interest and passion for medicine. Here students take a deeper dive into the field of medicine and healthcare through a program of lectures, interactive discussions, hands-on skills clinics, group projects, career panels and networking with professionals in the field. These Academies also serve as a fundraiser for the school-based programs.
I hope you enjoy reading our updates. Please let me know if you have any questions or would like to collaborate.

Cheri Fidler, Director, Center for Healthier Communities
FACES-Crawford Students
Benefit from Diverse Learning Opportunities
C rawford FACES students have been able to learn about college applications and student financial-aid from Katia Garcia from the African Coalition Workforce; Physical Therapy from Rady Children’s Kelly Randich, PT Supervisor; Medical Interpretation from Erica Brown and Gastroenterology from Dr. Kathleen Schwarz, a pediatric gastroenterologist from Johns Hopkins. They also have participated in workshops about Mental Health, guided by Jackie Mola from Mental Health America; and Sports Medicine, conducted by Dr. Austin Mandoyan from the Family Medicine Residency Program at Family Health Centers. Field Trips have included going to UCSD to participate in Doc 4 A Day.
Lisa Salz from Rady Children’s Institute of Genomic Medicine discusses genome sequencing with a very engaged group of students.
The diversity of students, and the wealth of languages spoken at Crawford makes them ideal candidates to become Medical Interpreters / Translators. Erica Brown tells them about Rady Children’s program.
FACES-Hoover Students
Learning On the Go!
S tudents in the FACES Hoover program never seem to stop! Offerings in the first part of the 2017-18 school year include:

  • Stop the Bleed training;
  • Guest Speakers;
  • Rady Children’s CHET Team;
  • StemCell researcher Dr. Hubka spoke about the importance of including art in the STEM curriculum and demonstrated examples of magnified images of stem cells that had been colorized. 
  • Community Health Specialists from the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency discussed the field of public health and their personal career paths.
  • Staff from Rady Children’s Genomics Institute talked about the rising field of Genetic Counseling, and the need for diverse professionals in the field.
  • Chase Bank experts spoke to seniors about the basics of financing, such as opening an account, how to avoid accruing debt, loans, over drafting, and credit cards vs. debit cards.
  • Doc-4-a-Day at Hoover

In addition to program offerings, student officers have been busy with projects, selling healthy food at a school-wide Food Fair and fundraising so they can keep their Lab Coats when they graduate.
Students compete in the “DNA build challenge” before learning about Rady Children’s Genomic Institute and the field of genetic counseling.
Students practice new skills under the watchful eye of the CHET team
Janssen Mentors Help BTE Students
Conquer Senior Year
S enior year in high school is never easy, but knowing you have dedicated mentors behind you, like those on the Bridge to Employment (BTE) team at Janssen Pharmaceuticals, helps. The Hoover BTE students recognize their good fortune, as noted in the most recent focus group findings. When asked about the most impactful aspects of BTE, the most common responses were the help students received in thinking about and preparing for the future, and learning from Janssen employees’ career paths that, “it is okay to change your mind about what you want to do in the future.” Students also noted that, “BTE had broadened their awareness of career options or helped narrowed their careers of interest.” For example, one student who had been interested in health, in general, now knew that she was interested in pharmacy because she understood what education and skills are required.
Students and staff showed their dedication by arriving before 6:00 a.m. for the trip to Janssen to connect electronically with BTE students in Mexico.
Even at the holidays there is time for appreciation! (See the red circle!) BTE students made gingerbread trains.
Outcomes Oriented
34 BTE students will graduate with the program
85% have a 3.0 or better
     32% have a 4.0 or better
52% of students already qualify for 3 or more college credits, with another 29% on target to qualify before graduation
67% of students have completed at least one scholarship application, with most submitting 3 or more
70% have completed FAFSA or Dream Act applications (due March 2, so more to come)
91% of students have applied to 4-year colleges
BTE student Phu Tran was one of two San Diego students filmed to be included in the BTE 20th Anniversary video.
Our Janssen BTE Volunteers:
  • Veronica Morena
  • Rosa Luna-Roman
  • Nancy Heredia
  • Ashley Whitten
Weekend Medical Academy Starting Strong
R ady Children’s new Weekend Medical Academy (WMA) programs are off to a great start in 2018! The goal of these programs is to provide a condensed learning opportunity about an important and timely healthcare topic and related careers for students interested in pursuing healthcare careers. This is done through lectures/interactive discussions, hands-on skills clinics and career panels.

The first WMA program, Mental Health Matters in Medicine , took place February 2-4, 2018 with 20 enthusiastic students from throughout San Diego County, and one from Colorado. Throughout the weekend, students learned why “there is no health without mental health” from a broad range of mental and behavioral health clinicians. Seven students from the FACES for the Future program were able to participate via CHC scholarships.

A Surgical Experience with Fresh Start , our first weekend Advanced Medical Academy (AMA) , will take place March 9-11, 2018, and is open only to MA alumni. Through collaboration with RCHSD and the Fresh Start Surgical Gifts Program, 12 students will experience pre-op, surgery and post-op care first hand by following Fresh Start surgical patients throughout the weekend. Additionally, students will interact with Fresh Start volunteer clinicians and staff, and make a commitment to share with others the difference that Fresh Start can make by becoming “Fresh Start Ambassadors”! Learn more about Fresh Start at

The third 2018 Weekend Academy, From Dreams to Reality: Become a Professional Nurse , will be held May 4-6, with registration opening in March. Students will learn what it takes to become a nurse, learn about the many roles available within the profession and practice essential skills for their future careers.
Summer Medical Academy Expanding
W ith a rapidly changing healthcare landscape and increasingly diverse community, San Diego has a growing need for medical professionals who are prepared to enter the job market with knowledge and compassion and who represent the communities in which they will work. The Summer Medical Academy (SMA) was founded in 2014 to address this need as well as provide financial support for FACES for the Future-San Diego. Entering its 5th year of programming, SMA has provided a unique opportunity for 168 high school students interested in pursuing careers in healthcare throughout San Diego County and beyond. Based on its popularity, the program has expanded for 2018 to include two 2-week summer programs and new career-specific weekend intensives. Additionally, engagement of alumni through advanced academy programs and the opportunity to serve as Volunteer Group Mentors for SMA will enable young adults to gain valuable leadership skills.

The Center for Healthier Communities (CHC) is committed to providing scholarships for students who are not able to afford the full cost of Medical Academy (MA) programs. This not only allows for a more diverse student population, both ethnically and economically, but enriches the program by enabling all students to interact and establish relationships with peers from a broad spectrum of backgrounds and experiences. To date, scholarships for MA students have been based on contributions from donors through the RCHSD Foundation, which are variable. CHC has established a goal for 2018 to provide scholarships through fundraising efforts to 25% of ALL students attending the MA programs through a combination of full and partial scholarships. To learn more about supporting this unique opportunity, contact Jared Blakely at .  
Center for Healthier Communities | Rady Children's Hospital-San Diego
858-966-7748 |