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FACES San Diego and Rady Children's Hospital Host 4th Annual Summer Medical Academy

August 23, 2017 | FACES for the Future Coalition | This post first appeared on the FACES for the Future Coalition's blog.

In 2009, Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego (RCH) launched FACES for the Future (FACES) with the goal of facilitating healthcare careers among high risk youth in an underserved community. FACES is a four-year academic and career preparation program in partnership with San Diego Unified School District’s Hoover and Crawford High Schools, and part of PHI's FACES for the Future Coalition, which supports a collaborative of national programs, all based upon the FACES model, which work to address health equity for all communities through the training and empowerment of young people.

Learn more about the FACES RCH Summer Programming. 


What was the highlight of your summer? For 46 high school students from San Diego County, “seeing and touching a human brain” is their answer.

For the last four years, the FACES San Diego program, under Rady Children’s Center for Healthier Communities, has led the Summer Medical Academy (SMA). This unique and exciting two-week program, adopted from the FACES for the Future Coalition’s Summer Medical Academy, also seeks to inspire high school students interested in medicine to explore careers in healthcare and become caring and insightful professionals in a complex and rapidly changing world. Through lectures, skills clinics, hands-on activities, group projects, career panels, and interactive discussions with professionals, the goal is to reinforce and increase students’ enthusiasm to pursue healthcare careers. Over the course of the intensive program, more than 125 faculty members from Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego, the UCSD School of Medicine, UCSD Skaggs School of Pharmacy, Illumina, and the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine engage with students and share their knowledge and expertise. For the 2017 SMA participants, experiences ranged from suturing a pigs foot; placing a soft cast on a friend’s arm; having an acupuncture needle placed in their forehead after an Eastern Medicine assessment; and learning how to use breakthrough medical technology.

Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego FACES students learning about neuroscience on a human brain

This year, students also took a deep look at one of the most pressing topics of our time—Prescription Drug Abuse. Under the direction of Dr. Glenn Billman, Chief Quality Officer at Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego, students tackled this topic head on. During the two weeks, they conducted their own research; interviewed key experts in various sectors such as government, schools, law enforcement, pharmacy, and healthcare; and discussed their own personal experience and stories in their communities. At the graduation ceremony, they presented their recommendations for addressing the problem as well as presented a 30-second PSA they created that was directed towards their peers. Students truly took to heart that they wanted to be part of the solution, not the problem.

Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego FACES students practice suturing on pig's feet.

Due to the success of past programs and interest throughout our community, we are excited to share that additional Medical Academies will be coming soon! This will include two-2 week Summer Medical Academies, as well as school year programs such as weekend intensives and career-specific forums. If you’re interested in learning more about how you can join us at Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego, contact us via email at summermedicalacademy@rchsd.org.

Read more about FACES San Diego.


About FACES for the future

PHI's FACES for the Future Coalition delivers the highly successful FACES program model to communities seeking to prepare high school students for entry into the health professions by developing their own pipeline programs. FACES incorporates best practices in adolescent medicine, innovative pedagogy,and community engagement. Taken together, the model addresses the diverse needs of young people interested in healthcare careers, and prepares students to meet the challenges of impending health workforce shortages and worsening health disparities. Learn more.