High school seniors paired with health education mentors in pilot program

UC Davis mentors talk with high school students © UC Regents
Registered nurse Darrell Desmond and cardiothoracic surgeon Elizabeth David talk with students.

Posted Feb. 20, 2013 

UC Davis Health System physicians and nurses served as mentors for Arthur A. Benjamin Health Professions High School seniors in a pilot program that allowed the students to interview mentors about their senior project topics and seek one-on-one career advice and guidance.

The first ever Heart2Heart Mentor Morning was hosted recently by the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing and the School of Medicine's Office of Student and Resident Diversity. Pediatrician Jann Murray-Garcia, assistant adjunct professor from the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing and a member of the high school's Community Advisory Board, partnered with School of Medicine staff in recruiting mentors.

"So many UC Davis Health System employees want to be involved with young people from the community," said Murray-Garcia. "Several mentors expressed how touched and re-inspired they were in their conversations with these students who will make up the next generation of health professionals."

Jann Murray-Garcia"So many UC Davis Health System employees want to be involved with young people from the community."
— Jann Murray-Garcia

Seven physicians and 10 nurses met with over 20 students in the event, which included breakfast, student interviews and a tour of UC Davis Medical Center's lobby. Students were prematched with mentors, based on their senior project topics and mentors' field of expertise. Seniors will continue to work with their mentors through March, as they draft their senior project outlines and seek feedback.

“The students often have to find mentors on their own or they try to get in touch individually with people here. This event has been great,” said Deborah Meltvedt, work-based coordinator and teacher at Health Professions High School.

Health Professions High School senior Brandon Lukwago's conversation with cardiothoracic surgeon Elizabeth David provided insight, as he continues to explore careers in the field of medicine.

“I’ve learned today that there are lots of careers that I could pursue besides being a cardiologist. I could do lung surgery, chest surgery, stent procedures. There are lots of (career) pathways,” said Lukwago.