BWFH's Community Health and Wellness Team, from left: Outpatient and Community Liaison Dietitian Allie Lang, RDN, LDN, Community Health and Wellness Director Tracy Sylven and Community Health and Wellness Program Coordinator Katie Plante
The Community Health and Wellness Department at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital has developed a series of programs to provide opportunities for elementary and high school to learn about their own health, the healthcare industry and the job opportunities available within in the healthcare industry.
“We work with children in Jamaica Plain, Roslindale, West Roxbury and Hyde Park,” says Director of Community Health and Wellness Tracy Sylven. “For the youngest community members, we run a variety of programming at the JP Manning Elementary School. For our high school students, we offer an introduction to a career in healthcare and even some paid real-world work experience in the industry. The goal is to engage students in their own health and give them some tools to be successful in their careers. The ultimate hope is that these kids will thrive both physically and financially as adults.”
Elementary School Outreach
BWFH’s Community Health and Wellness Department has, for many years, partnered with the JP Manning Elementary School in Jamaica Plain. More recently, the department has begun offering similar programming at the Grew Elementary School in Hyde Park.
Programs are designed to help enrich students’ wellness curriculum, encourage early awareness of how to foster good health and help students deal with outside factors that may interfere with their health. The goal is to foster a sense of community-wide responsibility for the education of youth, provide programming, meet student and teacher needs, support the larger school community and serve as a resource. Programs include school-wide food tastings, food stipends for food insecure families as identified by food screening, comprehensive nutrition and wellness education and talks and visits to the hospital on a health/wellness topic. The department also provides leadership on the schools’ Wellness Councils and a BWFH representative serves as the schools’ Wellness Champion. In addition, the department provides support and education for the physical fitness of students, health coaching and support for the health needs of the staff.
Job Shadow Program
BWFH offers job shadow opportunities to Boston Private Industry Council (BPIC) high school students in both clinical and non-clinical disciplines in the healthcare setting. This exposure to different aspects of healthcare serves two purposes: it helps educate students about current health issues and allows participants to explore different career options. All of this supports BWFH’s efforts to improve economic development in its surrounding community.
Summer Jobs Program
Every summer, BWFH’s Community Health and Wellness Department coordinates a summer jobs program that has a lasting impact on both the hospital and the students. By working with the BIPC, BWFH gives local high school students the opportunity to learn about careers in the healthcare industry. The Summer Jobs Program lets students gain practical experience in a wide variety of positions, both clinical and non-clinical. These paid positions allow students to learn more about the healthcare industry while also teaching them valuable life skills around holding a job and being responsible financially.
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