- Health Professions Scholarships
- Health Careers
- Student Rotations
- Outreach Programs
- Education Workshops
It is difficult to sustain any kind of argument against pursuing and attaining a good education, more importantly, an education in health careers. Why this statement you might ask. Well, because those of us who make the San Luis Valley our home know that when we must visit our health care institutions, we may or may not be seen by a physician. The physicians we do have in our beautiful valley are already quite busy and may not be able to see you. Thus, you may be seen by one of the San Luis Valley’s Physician Assistants, Family Nurse Practioners or other well qualified medical professionals. However, why not be seen by a doctor? Well, because the San Luis Valley is designated as a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) for a reason. Simply, we don’t have enough health care professionals in the San Luis Valley.
In 1979, the San Luis Valley Area Health Education Center established the “Summer Health Careers Institute”. This was the brain child of Mr. Al Kelly and Mr. Placido Gomez. At that time, it was recognized that there was a professional health care provider shortage. The Summer Health Careers Institute was born. Since that date and under the careful coordination of Carmen Mares-Kelly and the San Luis Valley Area Health Education Center staff, hundreds of San Luis Valley high school students have had the opportunity to observe, participate and pursue a health career.
This survey, “From High School to Health Careers”, funded by the Colorado AHEC System Office and the University of Colorado Denver Health Sciences Center School of Medicine, provides a true evidence-base program which merits consideration of an educational vehicle which, in fact, addresses, in part, the San Luis Valley’s health professional shortage.
It is no wonder that the program continues today under the title of “Grow Your Own” Summer Health Careers Institute/Student Health Careers Guild. We must grow our own health care professionals who will come home and help care for our ill and ailing.
My thanks and sincere appreciation goes out to the Kellys, Gomez, SLV-AHEC staff, numerous presenters, instructors, human services agencies, volunteers and supporters who, through the years, made this a truly dynamic and educational program. My sincere thanks also go to this survey’s principal investigator, Bernadine Espinoza-Hostetter, who has labored for ten months locating and interviewing the former students of the Summer Health Careers Institute survey, “From High School To Health Careers”. Many thanks go to Bernadine’s technical assistant, Beverly Hottor whose patience was truly tested during this project. And, of course, huge thanks go out to the hundreds of San Luis Valley high school students who continue to validate the significance of this program through their participation in their communities as health care workers, in part, because of the Summer Health Careers Institute! The Summer Health Careers Institute is an evidence-based program, which, in twenty five years, has proven to produce health care professionals.
Freddie L. Jaquez
Executive Director, SLVAHEC