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Students study 'Gateways to Health'

November 15, 2009 7:31:37 PM PST
The unemployment rate is at a 25-year high right now. But one profession that appears to be recession-proof is health care. And at a high school in Manhattan, they're trying to open students' eyes to those possibilities.

At Cathedral High School, they offer more than just another health class. They off a program called "Gateways to Health."

"After learning all this in class, I'm interested in helping other people and explaining to them in words they can understand," student Nicole Mejia said.

And the main purpose is to encourage students toward careers in health care.

"It's not to teach them to be a nurses aide or to be an LPN (licensed practical nurse) or anything like that," program director Alice D'Orazi said. "This is for students who are going to go on in college and make it a profession."

"It's very valuable, health care workers, because we need them," student Kimberly Berry said. "I want to be a surgeon."

The program involves far more than learning about and discussing health issues in a classroom setting. The young women actually get to spend time working in a leading health care facility.

Eleventh-grader Kristine Guerrero spends one day per week in the cardiac intensive care unit at Beth Israel Hospital.

"It's great," she said. "I mean, I get to see what I possibly want to do someday."

As sophomores, they are required to do 100 hours of volunteer work.

"I'm interested in either pediatrics or pathology, especially after going to an actual pathology lab," student Janice Herbert said.

Whether or not they become heath care professionals, students say they are likely to remember what they have learned.

"I know I eat very unhealthy," Herbert said. "And I've changed a lot of my eating habits after this class."


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