Skip to main content

Midvale Journal

Hillcrest students gain knowledge, confidence through medical pathways program

Oct 01, 2022 07:31PM ● By Julie Slama

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

This year’s seniors in Hillcrest High School’s medical pathways program may have their eyes set to May 2023, not just for graduation, but to receive their white medical coats which they can wear as they further their education toward health careers.

As part of the medical pathway white coat banquet, six science teachers along with an administrator and a guest speaker in the health care profession held the white coats for the program’s graduates to slip into before pledging to uphold the Hippocratic Oath.

One of the recent graduates was Isabella Andrews, who plans to work in the sports medicine field.

“The actual white coats are a cool symbolism of all the work I put in to get to it,” she said. “I could have easily had a super easy schedule senior year, but I chose to take classes to complete the medical pathways and now that white coat symbolizes all the extra work and experience. It gives me a great base going into college knowing the basics and just building on those concepts.”

Andrews, who is studying at Louisiana Christian University, took selected required classes in biology, intro to health science, chemistry, physics, medical anatomy, physiology and medical terminology. She also took elective courses, passed three state skills tests and was a member of the school’s Health Occupations Students of America club.

The pathway’s requirements include holding a 3.0 grade-point average or higher, which she and her classmate, Zoe Welch, a future trauma surgeon, maintained.

“The coat is cool; I have college biology labs where I can wear it,” said Welch, a current University of Utah student. “I took the EMT classes at CTEC, which was one of the elective courses, and I got my whole baseline of trauma from there. Most of the classes are anatomy-based, but I also took medical terminology class too, which helps when I hear a medical word and I can easily pick it apart. I'm really glad that they have that program at Hillcrest. The medical pathways program is perfect for the kids who know they want to go into this field because it pushes them to learn.”

The banquet, which awarded about 20 students with white coats, included keynote speaker Dr. Karl Kirby, St. Mark’s Family Medicine program director, who shared with students some of the opportunities he’s had in health care around the world, from Alaska to Africa.

“He talked about all these different places in the world, which I thought was cool,” Welch said.

Kirby, who said that both people and service inspire him, told the students about his rotations around the world, sharing photos and sprinkling in advice for their future, such as “The good physician treats the disease; the great physician treats the patient who has the disease” and “people often remember the way they were treated over what you did to treat them.”

Former Hillcrest Assistant Principal Quentin Linde also addressed the students.

“The white coat ceremony shows you have dedicated yourself to excellence and education through not only the rigors that comes with academic success, but also while exemplifying the qualities of scholarship, service, leadership and character,” he said.

Program and science teacher Matthew Hart said that the white coat ceremony is an opportunity for students to be “recognized and rewarded for the hard work that they do” and it gives students a trajectory in high school.

“It’s something they’re passionate about and they want to make a difference in how they serve their community,” Hart said. “The program is growing so we try to accommodate all these kids who are excited and want to learn. The best part of this, though, is that these students believe in themselves. Now they can go out and achieve.”