LQHS student Crystal Gallardo-Madrigal practices suturing at Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona during a field trip.

La Quinta High School’s Medical Health Academy offers students a hands-on approach to exploration and preparation for a career in the health field. The academy is a three-year program that exposes students to a variety of health care careers. The courses include an introduction to medicine, medical terminology, proficiency in basic skills, career exploration and finally, a medical internship with the opportunity to receive national certification in a variety of entry-level positions.

Melissa Moore, the new coordinator and instructor, has years of experience working as a paramedic in addition to holding a teaching credential in science. 

Stacy Bolanos, her co-teacher, also has much experience working as a licensed vocational nurse. Their passion for medicine and dedication to their students has provided a strong foundation for a successful academy.

Students apply and interview for the academy during their freshman year. Once accepted, students take an Introduction to Medical Health Course during their sophomore year.  This introductory course provides an overview of medicine from a historical perspective to the newest inventions. Students study the meaning and correct pronunciation of medical terms and begin to explore various careers. They have the opportunity to learn through hands-on labs that require students to collaborate with their peers using authentic medical equipment to practice necessary skills. These college and career labs prepare them for medical and health science careers with programs ranging from biomedical engineering to veterinary medicine.

During the junior year, Medical Health Academy students are encouraged to select a personal career path based on their lab experiences from their sophomore year. They continue to master medical terminology and skills while getting certified in CPR/AED and First Aid. Additionally, students begin to explore the real world of medicine through job shadowing at Eisenhower Health and attend various field trips to medical facilities such as Loma Linda Embryonic Lab and Hillcrest Hospital.

Finally, a student’s senior year in the academy culminates with a year-long internship at a local medical facility and the opportunity to take a test for national certification as a medical assistant or nurse’s aide. Students prepare a senior portfolio with the help of the counseling department and map out their educational path toward a career of their dreams. 

With the help of the community and the dedication of their teachers, students will be excited and prepared for their future in the medical field. 

For more information on LQHS’s Medical Health Academy or to support the program with an internship opportunity, contact Melissa Moore at [email protected] or OneFuture Coachella Valley at (760) 625-0422. www.onefuturecv.org.

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