General information

Teaching Science Through The Lens of Health Care
Health and Science Pipeline Initiative's Collaborative Network to Improve Students’ Ultimate Success in Healthcare Professions

Background

Formerly known as Regional Allied Health and Science Initiative (RAHSI), Health and Science Pipeline Initiative (HASPI) is a collaborative network of educators, industry representatives, and community organizations that are actively engaged in a common effort to improve students’ ultimate success in health care professions.

The program mission is to provide a framework that integrates healthcare themes, concepts, and exposure into traditional middle school and high school coursework, thus preparing students for post-secondary science courses required for the health care industry including nursing and allied health. HASPI has three primary goals to help prepare students of all academic levels and backgrounds for healthcare professions:

1. Increase health/medical career awareness
2. Improve performance in middle school, high school and college science courses
3. Strengthen student transitions and retention rates in college training programs

Understanding the challenge college students face in successfully completing prerequisite courses for health career pathways, HASPI exposes students to highly contextualized sciences prior to their admission to college. HASPI provides its students with a variety of courses such as Medical Biology, Medical Chemistry and Medical Physiology, all taught through the lens of healthcare. It develops high school curricula infusing a high level of health and medical appropriate application while maintaining California state standards for the sciences.

Methods

HASPI works directly with high school teachers to provide curricular resources that allow them to infuse health and medical content into traditional science courses. Resources are available on the HASPI website (www.haspi.org). Materials are widely used by CTE and ROP teachers as well. Workshops are also offered in various areas of the State to introduce HASPI and related resources to participating teachers, such as “lab kits” that include all the supplies required to carry out the Medical Biology Core Labs with funding provided by the Health Workforce Initiative.

Teacher participation in the workshops and the network is voluntary; and enrollment is open to all students. High schools and districts are invited to participate through outreach from HASPI, and through educational networks. Teachers are contacted via email, direct mail, listserve, telephone, Advisory Committee meetings; students are informed through career fairs, classroom visits, counselors, fellow students, and teachers.

Key Partners

HASPI’s Industry Connections Coordinator works with all health care partners to assist with coordination of career exploration activities on behalf of all of the partnering schools.  HASPI seeks to provide the most beneficial experiences through comprehensive academic and professional preparation of its students, as well as on-going feedback from healthcare partners.

Grossmont Healthcare District
Local funding

SHARP Grossmont Hospital
HASPI student internships & tours

Scripps Health
HASPI student internships & tours

Palomar-Pomerado Health
HASPI student internships & tours

Kaiser Permanente
HASPI student internships & tours

UCSD Medical Center
HASPI student internships & tours

Health Workforce Initiative (HWI)
Funding for statewide expansion (coordination, workshop expenses, teacher substitutes, lab kits)

CTE: local departments, as well at the CDE CTE Division
Endorse and share HASPI model with health pathway network

SB70 CTE Community Collaborative
State grant: primary source of funding

Outcomes

The key innovation is the development of healthcare-themed coursework; Medical Biology, Medical Chemistry, and Medical Physiology, that is founded in traditional high school science coursework. The HASPI curriculum has been shown to improve student performance.  California Standardized Testing (CST) scores from 2010 -2011 reflect that 93% of students that take HASPI Medical Biology score higher on the Biology exam than that of the state. This is vital in providing access to college programs; without science proficiency, career opportunities are limited.

The success of the San Diego based project has influenced continued growth and expansion of the resources into six regions statewide. As HASPI continues its work, it hopes to support each region in their effort to replicate the HASPI model, establish lab kit refill stations in each region that includes student participation and develop a tracking mechanism to measure HASPI student success in post-secondary and employment.

Unexpected Challenges

At the project’s inception, HASPI believed there would be more curricular resources to draw from as it sought to infuse health and medical concepts into science courses. However, this soon became one of the greatest challenges for the program. The lack of materials pushed HASPI to develop its own comprehensive curriculum. With diligent support and participation from HASPI’s teacher network, and the excellent facilitation of its curriculum coordinator, HASPI now has coursework that spans 7th through 12th grades. Even so, the curriculum continues to evolve and develop with the hope of expansion into new subject areas.

Photo Gallery

Health Pathway students from Castle Park High School visit Sharp Chula Vista Hospital for a tour.
Granite Hills High School’s Health Pathway Students tour Sharp Grossmont Hospitals Rehabilitation Facility. As part of the tour, students participate in a wheelchair obstacle to get a first-hand experience of that of a patient learning how to efficiently maneuver her environment using a wheelchair. 
Student interns at Kaiser Permanente Hospital.
Mount Miguel High School’s Health Pathway students practice using a stethoscope while on a tour of Grossmont College’s  Nursing and Allied Health facilities.
A student from Sweetwater High School’s Pathway applies and utilizes his acquired skills on an injured football player during a game.
While participating in a Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) conference in Sacramento, Valley Center High School’s Health Pathway students visit the Capitol.
Patrick Henry’s Health Pathway students participate in Southwestern College’s Nursing Open House at the Otay Mesa Higher Education Center.

 

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