All Images Courtesy of Jiahui Health
This summer, Jiahui Health launched the inaugural session of its Health Scholar Program, a one-of-a-kind learning opportunity for high school students of international and bilingual schools in Shanghai to receive real, hands-on clinical experience by shadowing the international medical team at Jiahui International Hospital (JIH).
Two rounds of student participants from 10 different schools across Shanghai spent 3 weeks shadowing medical staff from 7 different departments ranging from pediatrics to laboratory. Student participants chose three different departments that they wanted to shadow for one week each. Program organizers made sure each student received hands-on clinical experience, as well as giving them “backstage” access to places like the laboratory and pharmacy.
Through this experience, they were able to gain not only an understanding of how doctors at JIH interact in order to deliver excellent patient care, but also better understand their own interest in medicine and their potential future in the medical profession.
“I was so impressed by the enthusiasm, initiative and knowledge of every single applicant. We had no difficulty finding young people who possessed all the attributes we were looking for and more! During the interview process, I thoroughly enjoyed meeting such an impressive group of young people. For those who missed out this year due to limitations in numbers, I hope the interviews were an enjoyable and valuable experience - and really hope they will apply again in the future.” -Dr. Susan Cadzow
Potential participants went through a rigorous application process that included both essays and in-person interviews with Jiahui medical staff. Dr. Susan Cadzow of the Jiahui Pediatrics Department was part of the panel of doctors who interviewed each applicant.
Jason of Shanghai American School Pudong (SASPD) said that he applied for the program because it would allow him to test his expectations and understanding of the medical field, and “give a sense of reality, of what it actually is.”
“What I learned is what these departments actually do, and how they differ from what people normally think they do. For example, most people think that pharmacies just dispense medicine, but they do more than just that,” said Jason.
Among the hands-on activities during the program was a suturing class taught by Dr. Hautek Koh, Deputy Chief Medical Officer at JIH, which participants agreed was among the best parts of the entire experience. During the activity, Dr. Koh guided students through the basics of suturing a wound using a pig foot.
Exercises like this and the opportunity to shadow medical staff at JIH were very popular among the participants, but it was the daily lunches with JIH doctors that seemed to leave a lasting impression.
According to Francesca, “I never considered a career in Gynecology and Obstetrics, but he was an inspiring person. The idea of being involved in women’s lives, from the day they are born to the day they give birth themselves is really amazing.”
“Most of the things she talked about helped us specifically, because she talked about her experience in medical school and how she coped with all of those challenges. I feel like it benefits us because we are able to see our own future in her story,” said Emily of Shanghai American School Puxi.
Dr. King’s advice didn’t stop at medical school, she also spoke to the students about maintaining a balanced life once you earn your medical degree. She emphasized the importance of broadening your horizons, both professionally and socially.
Francesca from Wellington College said, “You got to learn a lot about their experiences and how they view medicine. I’ve previously done programs where I learned about life inside a hospital, but this program allowed me to communicate with actual doctors and see what they think of the experience of working as a doctor, rather than just the specific medical procedures.”
“It was a privilege to meet the Health Scholars and to inspire the upcoming future leaders of tomorrow. To see the brightness of their eyes and their will to learn, even amongst the background of an epidemic, filled me with pride knowing that their path in careers in healthcare will very much be possible and full of promise. My main hope for the day was to connect in a way that would inspire them, not just for the day, but for their decision making and commitment to their chosen professions.” -Dr. Victoria King
Indeed, that was exactly what Dr. King hoped to do during her time with the scholars.
"This experience opened up a lot of career paths for us. Now we may be interested in fields we never considered before. For example, I never thought of ENT [ear, nose, and throat] as something that might be interesting, then I saw what they really do every day, including all the tests and techniques, and realized it was really quite interesting,” said Elgin.
Administrators and teachers from the participating international schools were equally enthused about the opportunity that this offered to their students.
"It exceeds our expectations to see the passion our students have to discover and pursue their dreams in the medical field. Thank you, Jiahui, for opening the door and giving them this opportunity!" said Anna Tian, Head Nurse and Dr. Carlos Adelantado Faura, Biology teacher, respectively, at Shanghai American School Pudong.
Steve Tippen, Director of Higher Education and Careers at Wellington College International Shanghai was most pleased with what this experience could do for student’s future study plans, “Real exposure to a clinical environment is a vital component of any student's application to medical school. However, securing this type of experiences is difficult—particularly for students in an international setting. This is why this initiative by Jiahui Health is so welcome. Ultimately, it may prove to be the vital element that leads to a student's successful application.”
“Healthcare is an essential service to any society and a wonderful and proud profession. I hope the Jiahui Health Scholar Program can provide a window of opportunity to those high school students who are curious about or interested in a career in healthcare to learn more about this field. I also hope those young Jiahui Health Scholars can act as ambassadors for healthcare and for Jiahui,” said Ge Feng.
Following the program, the three students of each round who had received the best evaluations from the departments were given a recommendation letter from the Jiahui Health Chief Medical Officer in support of their future college application.
Curious to learn more about the program? Check out the video below and hear from the students themselves!