Health Care Careers Pathway Opens for Tacoma Students
Lois Bernstein is always looking for ways to connect her community to healthcare resources. As Chief Community Executive with Multicare Health System, she oversees programs such as the Center for Healthy Living, Adult Day Health, New Adventures Children’s Center and Tree House. Over the past few years, she developed partnerships within the community to connect Tacoma students to the ocean of jobs available in the local healthcare industry.
In 2015, Bernstein and Tacoma Public Schools spearheaded a partnership between several local institutions aimed at designing a medical careers high school. Leaders from Greater Tacoma Community Foundation, CHI Franciscan, University of Washington Tacoma, University of Puget Sound, Tacoma Community College, Bates Technical College, and Goodwill Industries worked together to develop a program that would achieve the following goals:
- Offer multiple career explorations in real experiential learning settings
- Partner Tacoma Public School teachers with post-secondary teachers and medical career professionals to refine and offer related curriculum and experiential learning, both in Tacoma Public Schools and in partner settings
- Provide accelerated access to credentials and post-secondary requirements for students opting to continue in the medical field
- Offer Advanced Placement classes in conjunction with core curriculum, taught with a medical careers lens
- Expand the health and medicine careers pathways to other Tacoma Public Schools’ high schools;
- All students graduate with their home school diploma
This fall, Bernstein’s work came to fruition as the Introduction to Health Care Careers program launched with an inaugural class of 77 freshman. Academy students take regular classes in the morning followed by specialty classes focused on healthcare in the afternoons. Guest presentations, field trips to local medical facilities, and internship opportunities are key aspects of the program as well.
“We really want this to be a true intro to everything the constantly growing field of healthcare has to offer,” said Stadium Assistant Principal Shannon Marshall, the Academy’s lead administrator. “It’s not just about becoming a doctor or a nurse. There are whole fields beyond that.”
With a goal of addressing inequity in the healthcare workforce, the program will recruit students from middle schools across the district, adding a new crop of freshmen each year, and will eventually expand to other campuses.
Recognizing that there will be costs above and beyond the normal cost per student, both for the initial launch and for the ongoing enhanced curriculum, GTCF established a $10,000 program fund to help support the program moving forward. In recognition of Bernstein’s vision and leadership, all the partner organizations voted unanimously to name the fund in her honor and have agreed to make contributions to the fund and support the program with ongoing leadership.
If you would like to learn more about the Health Careers Program or how you can support opportunities for local youth, connect to GTCF’s Philanthropy Team, or call us at (253) 383-5622. You can also make contributions to the Lois Bernstein Fund for Health and Medicine Careers Pathways here.