November 20, 2023

Anaheim high school students experience interactive health careers field trip

Students from three Anaheim high schools who are interested in pursuing health care careers participated  in a hands-on, interactive learning event led by nine Providence health care professionals at the TGR Learning Lab on Friday, November 17.

Providence and TGR Foundation have been partnering for more than a year to expose young people, many with limited resources, to careers in health care. The event featured a panel discussion with Providence doctors and other professionals and experiential working sessions where the students engaged in activities involving biotechnology.

Students learn about health careers during a panel led by Providence professionals at the TGR Learning Lab.

Nwando Anyaoku, M.D., chief health equity and clinical innovation officer for Providence Swedish Health Services in Seattle was a keynote speaker. Dr. Anyaoku, who trained as a pediatrician and is a well-known speaker, coach and consultant, works with clinical and community leaders to advance equity in health care and embrace culturally appropriate care delivery.

“To anyone out there who’s hesitant to pursue a career or serve in any space because you think you might not be a fit, your voice and your stories are desperately needed, especially in health care,” Dr. Anyaoku said. “As we work to build a more equitable society, let us be intentional about developing and celebrating the beautiful melting pot of our diverse stories. Recruit and advance diversity in your team.

“I’m excited to see all the young students from diverse backgrounds because I’m convinced having a diverse workforce is critical to achieving an equitable health care system,” she added. “The prospect of these young people entering into health care and diversifying the workforce, gives me tremendous hope as we work toward a more equitable health care system.

Providence executives gather for a photo at the TGR Learning Lab after addressing students on a health career panel. Pictured left to right: Dr. Austine Duru, Dr. Nwando Amyaoku Dr. Connie Bartlett and Dr. Eugene Kim.

Eugene Kim, M.D., chief medical officer for the Providence Clinical Network in Southern California also took part.

“This is such a great opportunity for these students, but I think we at Providence gain even more by serving as mentors to such bright and eager minds to the possibilities,” he said “At Providence, we’re committed to partnering in our communities to advance health and wellness while engaging the under-served in building healthier communities from within.”

Participating in the immersive field trip were more than 200 students, most of whom are enrolled in the Anaheim Union High School District’s medical careers pathway and are part of TGR Foundation’s new Career Explorer Program.

“My experience at the TGR Learning Lab was really good,” said Laniyah Porter, a Magnolia High School student. “I’m a senior so I’m going to college soon, and it helped me understand that nursing is what I really want to do. The networking was a good opportunity for me to learn more and ask questions directly to the panelists.  I took away a lot of information from them on how to balance my college work and social life. I also learned a lot about the broad range of things I can do in my career.”

Students connect with Providence professional during a networking social following a career panel.

Also participating were pediatrician Connie Barlett, of St. Joseph Heritage Medical Group, and Kedarious Colbert, director of planning and design for the Providence system. Austine Duru, chief mission integration officer for Providence Mission Hospital, in Mission Viejo and Laguna Beach, attended as well as four leaders from Providence St. Joseph Hospital in Orange: Kristi Parral, senior nurse manager, emergency department; Christopher Arzadon, director of quality management; Robert Garcia, director of behavioral health and nursing operations; and Lisa Giarraputo, senior director, clinical laboratory.

Biomedicine – or Western medicine – stresses standardized, evidenced-based clinical practices that are validated by research. Providence through its Clinical Institutes model is committed to research in a range of specialties across its 52 hospitals, including 11 in Southern California. The goal is to continuously share expertise and raise the bar on quality standardized care.

Laniyah Porter and Meredith Rodriguez participate in a STEM activity to learn about the logistics of pill casings for medicine consumption and digestion.

Providence also is a champion of health equity and has committed $50 million across the seven-state health system for outreach to under-served communities. Strategies includes meeting a range of needs including access to affordable health and mental health care, guidance for students and young adults interested in health care and programs to address social determinants of health including poverty, homelessness, safety and substance use.