Bridge to Healthcare Summer Program Offers Options for Careers
After six weeks of gaining information and hands-on experience about potential careers in healthcare, a group of 25 participants in the “Bridge to Healthcare Careers Summer Program” celebrated their successful graduation with speeches, certificates, photos, refreshments–and the knowledge of career choices as they make decisions about their future.
“This experience helped me reinforce that I wanted to be in the medical field,” says Ashley Tejada, 19, a sophomore at UC Merced majoring in human biology. “I just didn’t know there were so many options!”
Discovering those options was precisely the point of this innovative program, co-sponsored by Merritt, along with a number of community partners including the San Francisco Foundation, which provided the funding.
The participants, with a variety of backgrounds and mostly from the Oakland area, had the opportunity to learn about Merritt’s health and science programs from Merritt instructors who talked to them about such fields as Medical Assisting, Radiologic Science, Nutrition and Dietetics, Nursing, Emergency Medical Technician, and Biosciences (Genomics, Histotechnology, ad Microscopy).
Coordinating the program and keeping everything on track were Medical Assisting instructors Amanda Issa, from Life Academy High School, and Ruhina Najim from Merritt, who also taught the group practical hands-on skills like taking vital signs and led the learning lab and study skills class. Also lending their skills to the program were psychology professor Dr. Mario Rivas, communication instructor Mary Denise Jackson, counselor Juana Marinez-Rodriguez, and Dr. Janella Street who led Life Coaching sessions.
Deans Roberta Kunkel and Rosemary Delia of Workforce Development and Applied Science, along with staff members Maria Perez and Alejandra Cerda, also lent their support. “We’re proud of you for making a commitment to getting a better idea f your goals for the future,” said Dr. Delia. “You are special because you are our first group of Bridge students and we want to keep growing the program. I hope that you feel you have moved a step ahead in your life.”
Dr. Jeff Lamb, Merritt’s Vice President of Instruction, also attended the ceremony and reminded the group of the community support that made the program possible and urged them to pass on their experiences to others.
“We would not be sitting here without the effort and support of our partners –it was a collaborative effort across the community,” said Dr. Lamb. “You are now a part of the Merritt family and have a responsibility to represent. I challenge you to reach out to the people around you so others can have this great experience.”
Along with Merritt College and the SF Foundation, community partners include the Unity Council, the Alameda County Health Pipeline Partnership, the Workforce Investment Board, Work-Based Learning, and Career Ladders Project. For more information, call (510) 436-2409.