Surgery anyone?


It's no small undertaking to host 160 STEM/Health pathway students at your surgery center for a day of learning, but that's what Julie Adelchanow, Director of the Surgey Center of South Bay in Torrance, and her staff did! Spearheaded by Navjot Kaur, one of the physician assistants who has been a regular classroom presenter (see Not Your Momma's Needle and Thread and Blood, Guts, and Gallstones), students representing five schools in the Corona-Norco USD disembarked at the surgery center and were immediately greeted by staff. They had arranged an outdoor activity where students raced to (correctly) don surgical gloves, booties, gowns, hair caps, and protective eyewear.  

Once inside, the center had set up ten activity stations with some truly unique experiences. Medical representatives from Covidien, Teleflex, Stryker, and DaVinci demonstrated and explained some of the high tech equipment like the Femto Laser used in cataract surgies, and the Stryker laparoscopes used for minimally invasive surgeries. Stations were also set up to help students understand the functions of pre-op, central services, the OR itself, and PACU (Patient Anesthesia Care Unit). In opthalmology they learned about Lasik and cataract surgeries and checked out the equipment used in these delicate procedures, like the YAG laser. 

As each group moved from station to station, we caught some video of one demonstrator with a nice slab of raw carne asada. He quickly explained that the meat was actually a great way to demonstrate how bleeding is controlled on human tissue during surgery.  After demonstrating how the electricity-generating cauterizing knife and machine is used, students were invited to give it a try, soon evoking smells of a bbq - not unusual in the operating room, the demonstrator said. We took pictures of the student's testing their dexterity with the various instruments (see gallery below)

The surgery center provided a full lunch for the students, as well as goody bags and notebooks to write questions and take down the information. By all accounts everyone had a good time and the students, who represented the intermediate schools of River Heights, Raney, and Auburndale, and the Roosevelt and Corona high schools, appreciated the chance to be part of a surgery center for a day. 

Thank you to Julie, Navjot, and all the staff at the center as well as the medical reps who brought the simulation equipment that enhanced their experience. This was a day they will not forget!

The surgical center was an amazing experience. It gave me and others an opportunity to visualize what real medical work takes. With this, I know there is a lot of responsibility and knowledge. Truly it was a great experience and I hope others will get to attend.
— student from River Heights

Allied Health Lab Day brings students and families together.

Allied Health Lab Day brought students and their parents together for a morning of educational fun at San Bernardino Valley College (SBVC). The word "lab" often conjures up images of mad scientists, strange smells, and glass beakers with bubbling fluids. But there is more to know about lab careers, and we partnered with SBVC to introduce micro, psych, pharmacy, and nursing labs to students and their families. 

Henry Lee, the keynote speaker, spoke about the dire need for lab scientist in Southern California and drew a connection between the what goes on in a lab and saving a life. A physician or a doctor cannot diagnose or treat patients without lab results, therefore labs play a direct role in the care and treatment of patients. Joan Murrillo, assistant professor of Anatomy and Physiology at SBVC, talked to the families about considering SBVC for higher education and the level of care and attention the instructors provide.  

Attendees extracted strawberry DNA, learned how to use and read an EKG machine, conducted seeing tests, and learned how to check for pulses and temperature.  Students and parents alike enjoyed the activities and what they learned about lab careers. We want to thank SBVC and Henry Lee for hosting Allied Health Lab Day!

I did not think I would be interested in lab work, but now I am interested. So glad I am!
— Shyanne Grajeda, Sophmore, Etiwanda HS

IHPC creates leaders.

The outreach specialists at IHPC work with young people to inspire, empower, and enable them to pursue their futures in health care. One of the many programs we have successfully initiated is the student ambassador program which selects high school health pathway representatives from area high schools. They attend nexus meetings, take on projects, give presentations, and share IHPC opportunities with their classmates. Through the program, the ambassadors develop leadership, initiative, and other soft skills. Two of our student ambassadors have shown early success through the program. Let's meet two of them:

Jeanette Choi - Senior at Chino Hills High School Health Science Academy

 Jeanette Choi, pictured [LEFT] poses with Carol Allbaugh [CENTER] and fellow student ambassador Isabella Orozco [RIGHT]. 

Jeanette Choi, pictured [LEFT] poses with Carol Allbaugh [CENTER] and fellow student ambassador Isabella Orozco [RIGHT]. 

We met Ms. Choi last year when she was an eager junior and applied for the IHPC student ambassador program. She actively promoted IHPC seminars, conferences, and site visits to her peers and even assisted with the Get Psyched! workshops we provided to get students interested in mental health careers. In her second year as a student ambassador, Jeanette then came to us with a request - she said a lot of her classmates were interested in mental health and she wanted to do a second Get Psyched! series for the Health Science Academy. We put her in touch with Dr. Teresa Etheridge, Program Director for HumanityCenter4Change, a mental health training agency, and that was it! Jeanette took charge and handled all the marketing, planning, and execution of Get Psyched Too!  Dr. Etheridge, the keynote speaker and workshop facilitator, was incredibly impressed with Ms. Choi and the hospitality she received from the students. Because of Jeanette's leadership, 48 students from Chino Hills HS participated in the series proving that old adage "You can give a man fish and he'll eat for a day but if you teach him to fish, he'll eat for a lifetime" certainly applies to the value of teaching young people to lead the next generation of health professionals. 


Andrew Hoover - Junior at Ayala High School

 Andrew Hoover speaks to middle school students at the JUMP Spring Celebration.

Andrew Hoover speaks to middle school students at the JUMP Spring Celebration.

We first met Andrew last year when he interviewed for a summer internship with the Kaiser Permanente Regional Reference Laboratory in Chino Hills. The lab is one of IHPC's industry partners and we were helping them to select students who were ready for an internship opportunity. Andrew was the last student of the day to interview and unfortunately, was not accepted into the program. Undaunted, he realized he needed to bulk up his resume and do something to get noticed. So, he applied to and joined the IHPC student ambassador program. A soft-spoken, shy young man, Andrew still took every opportunity the program offered him. He coordinated SBVC Nursing Day for 50 of his peers in Ayala's Pre-Med Society club, attended nexus and ambassador meetings, and assisted with the coordination of the JUMP Spring Celebration that was held on his school campus - even taking the mic and leading an activity with the 300 students gathered in the gym. The results? Andrew re-applied for the Kaiser Permanente Summer Youth Employment Program (YSEP) and was accepted! In an email to share the good news with his IHPC mentor, Ben Machado, he said, "I was chosen to be one of the interns for the YSEP program at Kaiser this summer because I was more qualified. I was able to show all the events I did with IHPC! Thank you very much for supporting me as a student ambassador!" We couldn't be happier for Andrew as we've watched him develop professionalism and leadership over the past year. We wish him a great internship this summer!

Not your momma's needle and thread!


When Physician Assistant, Navjot Kaur, came to Sandi Uribe's medical assisting class at E. Roosevelt High, she wasn't planning to show kids how to do buttonholes and back stitching. Her expertise is in medical suturing and she works at the Little Company of Mary Medical Center in Torrance as a surgical PA. Ms. Kaur is passionate about sharing her knowledge with budding young medical professionals and came armed with enough suturing supplies for everyone to participate in holding the curved surgical needles and using surgical thread to practice on artificial "skin" pads. The students were so excited to practice, they didn't want to break for lunch! On behalf of Sandi Uribe's class, thank you Ms. Kaur! 

Learning the basics.


The River Heights JUMP club is lucky to have CERT trainer, Gloria Coder, on hand to teach them the basics of first aid. Gloria loves working with this age group and probably enjoyed showing them how to use pressure bandages and tourniquets, and make simple first aid kits as much as they did!

You are never too young to learn some of these skills and Gloria took the time to explain the importance of bleeding control, how to apply pressure to the artery, and even how they can use classroom supplies to fashion an emergency tourniquet. She also had the students practice tying a triangular bandage to immobilize the arm. A follow up session will be scheduled to go over sprained ankle wrapping and how to transport and brace someone with a broken leg. Thanks, Glo!


Catching up with the HOT program.

We recently got caught up with the Reach Out WIOA program, aka HOT (Health Occupations Training), to see what the youth are up to:

PASSING THE TORCH: Over pizza at the Learn 4 Life Charter High School in Rialto, the current cohort of CNA (certified nurse assistant) students met with the new cohort to help prep them for the program. The CNA students are training at Reach Centers and gave the incoming students tips on study strategies, patient interaction, and how to prepare for clinicals. We are pretty proud of them. They are working hard, doing clinicals at the Del Rosa Nursing facility, and happy to pass on what they've learned to the newbies.


MAD MONEY: The HOT youth were recently treated to a Monster Workshop given by the energetic and dynamic Ms. SaRatta Reeves of Monster's Making It Count program. SaRatta tackled money management and conflict resolution. Since the workshop was held in our conference, there was plenty of eaves dropping as Ms. Reeves explained the ins and outs of debit and ATM fees, overdraft protection, what to consider when applying for credit, and how to read a credit report. She explained the importance of building your credit and basic budget management. (Some of us wished we'd had such a class before we opened our first checking account!).

The second part of the afternoon was dedicated to conflict resolution which she broke down by types of conflicts (intrapersonal, interpersonal, intragroup, and intergroup). She involved the class in demonstrations and provided steps to problem solving. 


DISCOVER YOUR PURPOSE: The HOT program has launched a series of workshops this month appropriately called "Discover Your Purpose" with Steve Ward, CEO of Future N Focus. The  workshops, held at Innovation High (Learn 4 Life Charter High School in Fontana) will assist youth in career exploration and provide tools to aide in self-discovery. Mr. Ward began with an introduction to Dream Catcher where he walked students through a process to discover their purpose using the acronym MAPPE: Mental mindset, Asking yourself the right questions, Action, Purpose, Plan, and Execution. The other workshops will include self-exploration and career analysis, creating and action plan, and virtual presentations. 


We don't know what the future holds for our WIOA youth, but we know that these programs bring them one step closer to realizing their potential. For more information on HOT, please contact Christina Ly at

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In the neighborhood: Health academy hosts health fair.

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The Palomares Academy of Health Sciences, founded in 1980, has long been an active community partner in Pomona area. This year Palomares, who already operates an on-site oral health center in partnership with Western University of Health Sciences, extended another community-based service this Spring - a free community health fair. The idea first germinated with the W/E Nexus* group where Rosalind Barba, the ROP/CTE instructor and Internship coordinator for Palomares, offered to take the lead. The health fair offered free health screenings, resources, and workshops in English and Spanish on medicine safety, diabetes, and heart disease. IHPC brought our career corner which is a series of short activities that educates participants on health careers and tests their general health knowledge. Nearly a hundred people took advantage of the fair's resources and appreciated having services offered in their neighborhood.

We wish to thank all of the folks who came out to share their resources and the health entities who provided the workshops:

Western University of Health Sciences

Operation Diabetes

Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center

*The West end (San Bernardino county) and the East end (LA county) nexus group is comprised of educational and industry partners who network and develop goals to support health pathways in their part of the region. 

"We just wanna make ya...Jump! Jump!"

That was the tone set at the recent JUMP (Junior Upcoming Medical Professionals) Spring Celebration held at Ayala High School where several hundred middle school students competed in team-style medical knowledge games created by IHPC. The throwback music of Kriss Kross's popular song "JUMP" got the students out of their seats and showing a little school spirit during the opening assembly, while proudly parading their custom JUMP Club banners. It's impossible not to get excited with that much energy in the room!

After an encouraging word from the JUMP Spring Celebration sponsor, Dr. Patricia Chan of LiveWell Therapy in Chino Hills, the students dispersed to compete in games like, Medical Spelling Bee, JUMP-bowl, and Athletic Tape Blitz, Disease Dilemma, Medical Ethics, Healthcare PSA, Object Unveiling, and more. The students were only given study guides to prepare and were not given the questions in advance, so they really had to know the material! Throughout the games, which were held in a number of classrooms, their peers, parents, and JUMP advisors looked on or visited the Career Corner educational stations set up all around the courtyard. In the center sat a giant score board where clubs could keep track of how their teams were doing. The students loved the air of friendly competition and really supported each other.


Throughout the day, the student tri-board poster contest was on display. Students participated in four categories: 1) disease, 2) health professions, and health-related topics using the medium of 3) photography or 4) drawings.


The winners were posted for each category. Photography: 1st place - River Heights, 2nd place - Cucamonga, 3rd place - Day Creek. Disease: 1st place - Canyon Hills - 2nd place - River Heights - 3rd place - Etiwanda. Health Professions: 1st place - Day Creek, 2nd - Ramirez, 3rd place - Etiwanda. Drawings: 1st place Ramirez, 2nd place - River Heights, 3rd place - Badger Springs.

By noon, they'd worked up some ferocious appetites and devoured sub sandwiches, chips, cookies, and lots of water. Then, it was back to the games which wrapped up with a closing award ceremony. Bedlam and excited screaming broke out as winners were announced. Congratulations to Day Creek Intermediate for taking home the trophy this year in 1st place! They were followed by River Heights Intermediate for 2nd place and Ruth Musser Middle School for 3rd - both fierce competitors! 

Prizes were awarded in a language that all "tweens" speak and love - food! The champions received gift cards for a meal at In & Out Burger and will also have a club pizza and ice cream party before school lets out for the summer. The River Heights JUMP club will also have a pizza and ice cream party, and Ruth Musser students will celebrate with cones and cream as well.  We didn't want to leave out our wonderful JUMP Club advisors who worked with the students all year long. We showed our thanks in a language teachers love - coffee!! Each advisor received a gift card to Starbucks- guaranteed to get them through these final days of school (wink, wink).

Thank you to LiveWell Therapy and owner Patricia Chan for supporting our JUMP Spring Celebration for a second year. Your sponsorship makes this unique opportunity possible for our future healthcare workers!!

We also wish to thank our generous and helpful hosts - the Ayala HS Pre-Med Society led by President of the club, Sarah Barhouma, and our own IHPC student ambassador Andrew Hoover, for helping us to organize the games on their campus and facilitated the career corner stations. You all were amazing!


Future student ambassador recognized for leadership.

 Isabella Orozco is honored here with her parents [right] and the IHPC staff [left].

Isabella Orozco is honored here with her parents [right] and the IHPC staff [left].

I am so thankful for everything RO and IHPC does, my daughter has benefited tremendously from your services.
— Mr. Orozco

We felt like proud parents when we got the news that Isabella Orozco, student at Chino Hills High, was to be one of just five (and by far the youngest!) individuals to be recognized at Molina Healthcare's Community Champion Awards Dinner on April 26th. Isabella has been active participant in IHPC programming and a staunch advocate for the past two years. She is a passionate young woman who credits IHPC and Reach Out, as a whole, for impacting her decision to go into health care and serve her community. 

Molina holds this dinner each year to honor people who are positively impacting their community. Molina also makes a $1,000 donation to a non-profit of their choice, in their name.  Isabella did not hesitate to choose Reach Out for this gift. Diana Fox, Executive Director of Reach Out, accepted the donation and spoke about the impact that young people like Isabella are going to have on the future health workforce Inland Empire.

Congratulations to Isabella and the other champions for being a force for good in our community.  

A sense of pride.

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"Don't talk to me! I'm SO excited right now! exclaimed the young man to one of his buddies. They had just arrived on the campus of Western University of Health Sciences (WUHS). As they donned the starched white coats embroidered with the university's seal, their expressions noticeably brightened - broad smiles spreading across their faces. There was no doubt, even to the casual observer, that this seemingly innocuous act of putting on a lab coat was having a huge effect on them. It looked like pride in their eyes, and for the nearly 80 students in attendance, it was a source of hope for their futures. This moment really touched us, but we're getting ahead of the story...

We're talking about Health Sciences Day, one of many new projects we have forged with Western University of Health Sciences. Students are often unaware of the local higher education opportunities available to them as part of the health workforce pipeline, so events like this help to bridge that gap. The team of administrators and professors at Western U put together a comprehensive program highlighting the colleges of Allied Health, Optometry, Nursing and Osteopathic Medicine.


There were many interactive activities planned for the high school guests, who represented Grand Terrace, Colony, Alta Loma, and Chino Hills high schools. Time flew by as students heard presentations and engaged with current Western U students who mentored them throughout the day. From auscultation (listening for the heart, lung, and other organs), to optometric tests, and use of patient care manikins to track muscle movement, it was truly a day of learning. Probably the one activity they weren't expecting was when they were each handed a straw and instructed to begin climbing up and down the lobby's central staircase breathing through the straw (OK we admit some of us struggled even without the straws!). It's tough to do and was meant to simulate the difficulty in breathing that lung disease patients suffer. Sufficiently winded, they then had their blood oxygen levels checked for changes. They day was well organized and every student some individual attention and the opportunity to participate in each of the interactive activities. 

Thank you to our friends at Western U for providing these students an experience that will certainly stay with them. More importantly, thank you for giving them the sense of pride that they felt at being a part of your mission, even if just for a day.