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FACES 2018 Summer Medical Academy

August 15, 2018 | FACES for the Future Coalition | Adapted from the FACES for Future Coalition blog

Founded in 2005, the FACES Summer Medical Academy (FSMA) is a tuition-based, intensive summer day experience designed to expose high school students to the fields of medicine, nursing, and allied health professions. In partnership with Samuel Merritt University, the goal of the program is to offer young people a glimpse into an array of advanced educational strategies and tools that comprise current medical training.

During the two-week academy, FSMA students are exposed to clinical skills training, anatomy and pathology workshops, clinical simulation scenarios, problem-based learning, and workshops in patient centered care models. FSMA students are taught by physicians, nurses, and other health professionals. They also experience mentoring in small groups led by college and graduate students focused on careers in medicine and the health professions. The FSMA is open to any student regardless of background, geographic location or school.

This year’s Academy took place in July, and it was a huge success! 45 high school students were able to take part in this one of a kind summer enrichment experience. “I have never looked forward to a program every single day, and I’ve never talked so much to my parents about how my days go," said one student. "They told me that they’ve never seen me so passionate in something I’ve ever done.”

“I thought that this was an incredible experience to be a part of because I’ve learned so much in such a small span of 10 days, and I honestly feel like I’ve gotten some very valuable skills and knowledge out of this program," said a participant. "Not only have I met some very inspiring people that have left me with some amazing life lessons, but I also took part in engaging, hands-on, clinical workshops.”

The summer academy gave students the opportunity to see where the rubber hits the road. “FSMA helped me realize that healthcare workers can make mistakes and that their job isn’t all technical. It's important to have a conscience and understand your patients and where they are coming from.” Here are three other big lessons that students were able to learn this summer.

An Introduction to clinical skills

In the first week, students were mentored by numerous health professionals and received a crash course on various clinical skills including taking vitals, immunizations, and IV placement. Some proved much harder than others – especially intubation!

Career Exposure

Students had many opportunities to meet and talk to professionals from various fields in healthcare. They were able to interact with a team of emergency medical technicians and were fascinated by the high-pressure situations EMTs face every day. The students also took a field trip to the UCSF School of Medicine, where they met with current medical students and learned about the long but fulfilling road to becoming a doctor. Our FSMA scholars were also introduced to nurses, doctors, physician’s assistants, pathologists, global health workers, and much more.

Cultural Competency

Many of our workshops taught skills that a doctor uses in daily practice, but aren’t necessarily taught in a classic classroom setting, such as cultural competency and patient-centered care. Students role-played as doctors in very sensitive patient situations. This challenged students to check the assumptions and biases that might hinder communication and trust in a patient setting. Students commented on how this was an extremely eye-opening experience for them. "This program not only magnified my passion for medicine but also taught me to be a more thankful and humble person," said one student.

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Find out more about the FACES Summer Medical Academy

The 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 health care careers and prepares students to meet the challenges of impending health workforce shortages and worsening health disparities.