OSSINING, N.Y. -- Twenty Ossining students who could become tomorrow’s physicians, social workers, nurses and nutritionists went on a four-week journey this summer that included learning how to take vital signs, a nutrition label scavenger hunt, trips to local hospitals and even some yoga and Zumba demonstrations.
The ninth- through 12th-graders participated in the Future Healthcare Leaders program, which is in its second year in Ossining. Open Door Family Medical Centers runs it in partnership with the school district and the Ossining MATTERS Education Foundation.
“I’ve been learning about different careers, and it does make me want to go into the medical field,” Patricia Tuba, 16, said during the program’s final week. Tuba said she loves babies and wants to be a delivery room nurse. Future Healthcare Leaders has helped her move a little closer to that goal, she said.
“I enjoyed it. I woke up with excitement to go and learn more,” she said.
The students learned that employment in the health care sector is expected to grow 23 percent by 2022 as baby boomers age and remain active. Some other health care professions the students showed an interest in are forensic pathologist, pediatrician, art therapist and medical researcher.
They liked the high salaries some of the jobs pay, but it was sobering for them to see how many years they would have to be in school to get a degree. A forensic pathologist, for example, can make between $105,000 and $500,000 a year, but it takes 11-18 years of schooling, Elyssa Salmeron, 17, found on a health careers website.
Open Door has offered the Future Healthcare Leaders program in Port Chester since 2008, said Karen Mandel, manager of school-based health centers for the organization. There are large Hispanic populations in both communities, and it's important to get teenagers interested in the healthcare profession, she said.
Alex Molina, 15, said he originally thought of becoming an engineer or architect. He joined the monthlong program because he was curious about careers in healthcare. He is now considering becoming a psychologist, physical therapist or massage therapist.
Future Healthcare Leaders also operates as an extracurricular club during the school year.
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