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Hospital’s HOPE Program Inspires High School Students’ Future in Health Science, Medicine

Hope program 2016 graduates

The faculty-mentored educational program exposes students from underserved school districts to careers in healthcare

“Graduating” seniors from Stony Brook University Hospital’s HOPE program from the Brentwood, Longwood, and Wyandanch School Districts.
“Graduating” seniors from Stony Brook University Hospital’s HOPE program from the Brentwood, Longwood, and Wyandanch School Districts.

May 18, 2016 – Thirteen high school seniors who completed Stony Brook University Hospital’s Health Occupations Partnership for Excellence (HOPE) Program celebrated their “graduation” from the program and are on their way to college. A ceremony took place at the hospital on May 10 to honor their accomplishments.

Under the mentorship of Stony Brook faculty, the two-year program fosters the academic development of 11th and 12th students from the Brentwood, Longwood and Wyandanch school districts and preps them for future careers in the health industry. Since its inception in 2005, HOPE has helped open new avenues for hundreds of promising high school students from underserved and racially and ethnically diverse communities.

During the 2015-16 academic year, faculty instructed students, with educational venues that included lectures, hands-on demonstrations and shadowing clinical professionals from multiple areas in medicine such as nursing, cardiology, anesthesiology, and respiratory care.

At this year’s ceremony, the students expressed how much they learned from HOPE, frequently citing the thrill of shadowing doctors, seeing medical technology in action, learning from nurses about patient care, and the “amazing” breadth of the healthcare field – one that they anticipate holds many opportunities for them after they complete college.

Judith Berhannan, left, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions, with the three high school seniors from Brentwood and Longwood High Schools bound for Stony Brook University. From left: Katterin De La Cruz (Brentwood HS), Areeb Bhatti (Brentwood High School) and Michelle Najera (Longwood High School).
Judith Berhannan, left, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions, with the three high school seniors from Brentwood and Longwood High Schools bound for Stony Brook University. From left: Katterin De La Cruz (Brentwood HS), Areeb Bhatti (Brentwood High School) and Michelle Najera (Longwood High School).

Completing the two years of HOPE inspired three students to stay and attend Stony Brook University in the fall to continue to strive towards achieving their goals.

One of those students, Michelle Najera, of Longwood High School, has an interest in dentistry. She credits the program with connecting her with a member of the dental school faculty and assisting her in the admissions process for college.

“I made some really good connections through the program as well,” she said. “I got to meet Dr. Carrion and he wrote me a letter of recommendation which I believe helped me a tremendous amount when applying to college.”

Katterin De La Cruz from Brentwood High School plans to become an emergency medicine physician or a surgeon. She says that she loves the “rush of the emergency room” and “the idea that every case that walks through the door has its own unique story amazes me and that one day I would be the one putting people back together is just very cool.”

Some of the other colleges these HOPE graduates will attend include: Allegheny College, Cornell University, Farmingdale State College, Monroe College, St. Joseph’s College, SUNY New Paltz, Suffolk County Community College, and West Virginia University.

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