Loma Linda University Health just wrapped up its two-week high school pipeline program, which offers an immersive, on-campus experience that introduces healthcare careers to under-represented minority high school students.
Known as the Discovery Program, the annual initiative draws approximately 70 students each July to learn about various healthcare careers and visit the university’s eight schools. Participants research different health topics and present to faculty at the end of their two-week experience. Some even continue for several days to shadow healthcare workers at LLUH.
Organizers say the program, founded in 2005, has inspired many high school students to consider higher education, many of whom were first-generation college attendees.
“We know the Discovery program works because it has really sparked the interest of these students,” Siquem Bustillos, CAPS Program Manager, said following a concluding ceremony last week.
Many alumni of the program and staff members speak to participants during the two weeks. “The students really resonate seeing someone who was in their position and are inspired to hear from faculty and staff who come from similar backgrounds,” Bustillos said.
Discovery program organizers work with schools and families in the surrounding community. Scholarships are also available for participants.
“Of all the great work that Loma Linda University Health does, investing in the lives and futures of our local youth is among the most important,” said Juan Carlos Belliard, PhD, MPH, assistant vice president for Community Partnerships at Loma Linda University. “Inspiring, guiding, and resourcing our future health and healthcare professionals addresses multiple challenges in our region, including poverty, housing and food insecurity, access to healthcare, healthcare workforce shortage, and healthcare quality.”