Each year, Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital’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 Boston Private Industry Council, 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. This summer, twelve Boston-area high school students - mainly in the neighborhoods of Dorchester, Roslindale, and Hyde Park - participated in the program.
As the country remains in the the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year's Summer Jobs students and program coordinators faced the unique challenge of pivoting to a fully virtual program. After months of planning in the spring, BWFH and Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) came together to create a virtual curriculum for the students. BWH hired college interns to oversee groups of high school students and lead them through their virtual workdays, which ran Monday through Friday from 9 am to 3 pm.
Each day consisted of workshops, speaker series and independent projects on topics like financial literacy, health and wellness, STEM career exploration, public policy and social justice. BWFH Outpatient and Community Liaison Dietitian Allie Lang, RD, LDN, and Performance Improvement Manager Claire Massero also spoke to the students about their personal backgrounds and careers, as well as topics specific to their roles.
"While the ideal scenario would have the students working here on site, they handled this year's program very well and adapted to a new way of learning and working," says BWFH Community Health and Program Coordinator Katie Plante. "The virtual aspect of the program also provided the students with useful new skills like Zoom meeting etiquette, working independently and being accountable for completing work at home."
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