High School Students to Explore Health Careers at Banner – University Medical Center South

  • What: “A Pathway to Success” High School Health Career Fair
  • When: Wednesday, Feb. 12, 5-7:30 p.m.
  • Where: Banner – University Medical Center South, La Galería Conf. Rm. (1st Floor), 2800 E. Ajo Way, Tucson, AZ 85713

About 125 high school students, many with parents, a sibling or two, and counselors in tow, will participate in a health career fair on Wednesday, February 12, 5-7:30 p.m., where they will learn about the myriad of job options in the health professions.

The event will take place in the La Galería conference room at Banner – University Medical Center South, 2800 E. Ajo Way, Tucson.

This is the fourth year for the “A Pathway to Success” high school health career fairs that began in 2017, inspired by two internal medicine resident-physicians as a way to encourage teens, particularly from underserved communities, to pursue careers in medicine and other health professions. Held twice a year, the events are spearheaded by medical students, residents and faculty members at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson at South Campus.

“The fairs,” said Ina Rios, a senior program coordinator with the college’s South Campus Graduate Medical Education Office, “are full of interactive activities that highlight different career options. The students get a taste of just about everything the health care professions have to offer.” That includes dinner, provided prior to the fair, courtesy of Banner – UMC South’s cafeteria, adjacent to La Galería.

Registered attendees include about 51 students from Sunnyside High School; 34 from Pueblo High School; a dozen each from Amphi, Flowing Wells and Toltecalli high schools; and a handful from Canyon Del Oro, Cienega, Palo Verde, Star Academic, Tucson and Vail Academy high schools. That represents 25 more students than anticipated and the first time the event reached its registration limit a month in advance.

“Normally, we have a couple of residents on a morning TV program to pitch the event to high school students the week before like we did last October,” said Rios, “but Dr. Gianna O’Hara, an internal medicine resident, visited a science class at Sunnyside on January 8 and she had 38 registered by the time she left. A few more high school visits and we were full.”

For the fairs, La Galería fields rows of chairs for students, parents, counselors and others to hear presentations from speakers at 5:30 p.m. Activity tables are staffed with individuals who can speak about their path to their health careers. These include physicians, paramedics, pharmacists, dietitians, physical, respiratory and occupational therapists, medical assistants and others with lab services, labor and delivery and medical imaging.

Popular activities include intubation of baby or adult mannequins, a respiratory jacket that demonstrates constricted breathing, and an ultrasound machine. View photos from February 2019’s fair here.

Also present are UA Office of Admissions and UA Health Sciences Office of Diversity and Inclusion staff members, as well as a Banner Health talent acquisition recruiter to discuss volunteer and training opportunities. Alma Aguirre, UA Med-Start Health Careers program coordinator, will promote summer academic enrichment programs for 11th-grade Arizona high school students interested in pursuing careers in health sciences.

Following introductions and initial comments, groups of fair attendees are led on tours of the hospital by resident-physicians and medical students, which include visits to the MRI suite, cardiac catheterization lab, endoscopy lab, ICU and ER. After the tours, speakers will include: Maricela Mariscal, MD, a first-year UA/Banner Family and Community Medicine resident, and Gilbert Garcia, a Banner Health quality improvement specialist. Both are from Tucson and will talk about stepping stones in their careers. A series of prizes will be awarded later, culminating with a presentation of a $500 scholarship for a lucky senior who submitted an essay on their career goals in health.

Rios noted this is the first fair for 2020, and another will be held this fall. Individuals interested in attending can RSVP at the current registry webpage. Late registrants for the Feb. 12 fair are being added to a waiting list for the next A Pathway to Success event in October.

Speakers include

  • Nicholas Blackstone, MD, UA/Banner – UMC South Internal Medicine resident-physician
  • Kenji Yoshino, MD, UA/Banner – UMC South Internal Medicine resident physician
  • Maricela Mariscal, MD, a first-year U/Banner – UMC South Family and Community Medicine resident-physician and native Tucsonan
  • Gilbert Garcia, Banner – UMC South quality improvement specialist and native Tucsonan
  • Victoria Murrain, DO, associate professor, Family and Community Medicine, assistant dean for Graduate Medical Education, and deputy dean for Diversity and Inclusion, UA College of Medicine – Tucson