General information

High School Summer Internship Program
John Muir Health’s program for encouraging high school students to pursue allied health careers

Background

The John Muir Health Summer Internship Program was created to address the shortage of allied health professionals by raising awareness about allied health occupations within students of great diversity, thus increasing the supply of diverse individuals pursuing these careers. Sixty disadvantaged high school students from Mt. Diablo High School in Contra Costa County participated in the Summer Internship Program over two school years.The Summer Internship Program, in place since 2001, is a structured, eight week opportunity for high school students to work full time in a designated inpatient or outpatient department. Each intern is hired as a John Muir Health employee and is assigned to a single department for the duration of the internship. Students interned for four hours per week and were given tours in MuirLab, radiology, and surgery, highlighting a myriad of allied health professionals. As there are no guidance counselors at Mt. Diablo High School, a workshop by “Mapping Your Future” was given to provide information about applying for college and steps to being successful once in college.

Methods

The intern position was posted and applications were accepted on the John Muir Health applicant system, on-line. A spread sheet of applicants was compiled, listing students’ name, contact information and high school. Students from five targeted schools were evaluated for selection as interns. Students were screened based on the following criteria (a similar process was used for the 2009 Summer Internship to successfully reach economically disadvantaged, diverse students for American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding):

  • Identify the students taking part in the California Department of Education’s “Free/Reduced Meals Program” (FRMP).
  • Students partaking in FRMP were interviewed by Contra Costa County Office of Education staff, affirming interest in a health care career and confirming interest in the John Muir Health Summer Internship program.
  • Students were assessed to determine if they met eligibility criteria for diversity. Community Development Block Grant program low-income limits were used.

Eligible students were then forwarded to John Muir Health Summer Internship program coordinator for the interview and hiring process. Students selected as grant-funded summer interns were placed in departments employing allied health professionals, including lab settings, radiology/medical imaging, and pharmacy.

Key partners

  • Mt. Diablo High School, a diverse school in which 63% participate in the Department of Education’s Free/Reduced Price Meal Program and nearly 70% are minorities.
    2450 Grant Street
    Concord, CA 94520
  • East County Business-Education Alliance, provider of “Work Ready Essential Skills” survey administered to students before and after internship participation.
    464 Lone Tree Way #603
    Antioch, CA 94531
  • Mapping Your Future, Inc. provider of information about applying for college and steps to being successful once in college.
  • John Muir Health, a non-profit, community-based health system in Contra Costa County that provides a broad spectrum of inpatient and outpatient medical services.
    2540 East Street
    Concord, CA 94520
    • Internship Coordinator

Outcomes

Major successes include:

  • A heightened awareness of allied health careers. Most students enter the Summer Internship Program with an interest in a career as a physician or nurse. By the end of the program, 96% of students indicated they had “increased awareness of allied health careers.” Those who did not indicate a greater awareness stated that they were already aware of allied health careers. Students indicated that they were newly aware of Clinical Lab Scientist (CLS), Physical Therapist, Phlebotomist, Orthodontics, Occupational Therapist, Human Resources, Medical Lab Tech (MLT), Operating Room Tech, Speech Therapist, and Radiology careers.
  • Increased likelihood to pursue an allied health career. 88% of interns reported that their experience influenced what they were planning on doing after completion of high school.
  • Increased sense of preparedness for college. 86% of interns stated that they felt more prepared for college after completion of their internship.
  • Increased enrollment in college. As reported by their teacher, 100% of high school seniors who completed their internships went on to enroll in technical training, community college, or a university. This was an outstanding achievement for Mt. Diablo High School, which has a graduation rate of 70%.
  • Increased feeling of work readiness. For nearly all skills measured, including written and spoken communication, time management, and leadership, interns expressed greater confidence following completion of their internships.

Unexpected challenges

Some students did not completely fulfill their internship requirements and therefore did not earn internship credits for their participation. However, these students still benefitted from participating in the program.

Photo Gallery

 

Student participants in the Summer Internship Program receive scrubs to further empower and enhance their clinical experience.
In addition to their internship hours working with allied health professionals, interns participate in workshops focused on preparing for college, applying for college, and succeeding once there.
Students gather around teacher Sandy Johnson-Shaw upon the conclusion of final presentations. These presentations allow students to share their knowledge of various allied health professions–knowledge obtained through their internships.
Students of the John Muir Health Summer Internship Program, pictured here with instructor Sandy Johnson-Shaw and JMH Coordinator, Workforce Development Amy Anderson, receive their certificates of completion.

 

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