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Middle School Students JUMP at Careers in Healthcare

HOSA (Health Occupation Students of America) – JUMP (Junior Upcoming Medical Professionals) is a student-led organization designed to be a stepping-stone for 7th to 8th graders interested in entering the health science and medical technology field.  Through the program, HOSA-JUMP members have the opportunity to participate in career exploration through guest speakers, field trips, and middle school-high school mentorship. Ideally, JUMP is conducted at middle schools where there is an existing HOSA chapter at the local high school, as a partnership between the middle and high school sites is an important link to both the students and the advisors.

Through chapter management, including fundraising and community service, JUMP students learn teamwork strategies, leadership values, and positive work ethic.  Through the competitive events program, students study various topics for mastery, familiarizing themselves with medical terminology, medical math, public speaking, health care careers and health education.

Currently there are four JUMP Chapters in the region at Nellie N. Coffman, James Workman, Raymond Cree, and Indio Middle Schools (IMS) where the Pre-Med Academy is more than just a JUMP Chapter. What began in 2005 has become a full three-year program, available to all students as an elective. IMS Pre-Med Academy serves approximately 325 students each school year (grades 6 through 8).  The goal of the Pre-Med Academy is to provide students with opportunities to engage in activities that expose them to the multiple careers available in the field of medicine.  During the three-year program, students move from the basics of human body systems  and their associated illnesses to tackling subjects such as optometry, dentistry, forensics and veterinary science, to name a few. Lessons, however, go beyond note taking and videos; students learn through various labs and activities true to the medical profession.

Thanks to partnerships with CVEP’s Health Industry Council, Lifestream, Kaiser Permanente’s Hippocratic Circle and the Palm Springs Animal Shelter, students gain more real world experience to enhance their education. Through these partnerships, the 8th grade pre-med students are able to tour all of the valley’s hospitals, explore USC’s medical school, interview and engage in conversations with 2nd year medical students, and even explore career options available to those who might be interested in veterinary medicine.

Through Lifestream’s support, students work to give back to the community. Over the last ten years, the Academy has hosted over 30 blood drives, collecting more than 1200 pints (150 gallons) of blood. Students in the academy are an integral part of this quarterly event.

IMS pre-med students also visit elementary schools and take the opportunity to teach short lessons on health-related topics to third, fourth and fifth graders with the goal of sparking medical career interest in their younger peers.

IMS’s comprehensive pre-med program, and the other regional JUMP Chapters, are always looking to improve and expand, and to enhance community involvement through mentors who are willing to share their passion and expertise.

For more information on JUMP Chapters contact: Nancy Kounovsky, Indio Middle School Nancy.Kounovsky@desertsands.us; Jerry Reylek, Nellie Coffman Middle School jreylek@psusd.us;  Donna Sturgeon, CVEP Health Industry Council Donna@cvep.com or visit www.Cal-HOSA.org (Click on “About Membership” tab to find details about JUMP).

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