Memorial Hermann Greater Heights Hospital Giving HISD Teachers Lessons in Real World Health Care Jobs
For Chardai Grays, her second stint shadowing health care professionals at Memorial Hermann Greater Heights Hospital was more focused, allowing her to glean practical ideas to apply to teaching students in her Algebra I class at Heights High School. Grays, along with a contingent of Houston Independent School District’s (HISD) instructors, spent a week in the hospital as part of the district’s Teacher Externship program.
“The professionals at Memorial Hermann Greater Heights Hospital are incredible,” Grays said. “I learned how teams and departments organize, communicate, collaborate and use data. I also learned how I would use these skills for a number of student projects.
“For instance,” Grays continued, “the students can do surveys and create dashboards about trends in the neighborhood surrounding the school to learn about the number of homeless people in the area, or learn how many people in the community are eating healthy foods in their homes, or if they’re eating at all. I learned a lot that I plan to use during the school year.”
This marks the third year that Memorial Hermann Greater Heights has partnered with HISD to host high school teachers as part of its summer Teacher Externship program designed for teachers of math, science, English, social studies, and career and technical education to learn about industries related to their campus programs. The idea of the program is to get teachers out of the classrooms and into the real world where they can learn about different industries and associated careers to better able them to craft curriculum that is meaningful and relevant to students.
“I was able to interact with several departments,” said Jonez Harlan, who teaches anatomy, physiology and biology at Heights High School. “I could literally visualize my students working in each of them. Unfortunately, many students are not aware of the many job opportunities available that require no degree. Others require certification, or an associate, bachelor’s or higher degree. Fortunately, doing the Externship program afforded me the opportunity to learn about the many jobs in health care and so I can take this information back to my students.”
During their visit, the teachers rotated and shadowed hospital personnel in departments such as engineering, lab, business office, food and nutrition, emergency, imaging and the pharmacy, among others.
Joining Grays and Harlan from the Heights High School Health Science Academy were: Nestor Corpuz, Algebra II; Ellen Prestage, geometry; and LaTrondria Preston, health and science. Mellonie Lowery, a teacher at Westbury High School, also joined the group.
“As a community hospital, we are committed to connecting with students and the families in our footprint,” said Susan Jadlowski, senior vice president and CEO, Memorial Hermann Greater Heights. “We want to be not only their hospital of choice, but we want to also open our doors for learning opportunities that will help to cultivate future health care professionals. What better place to start than in the schools? So we welcome the teachers to our hospital to learn about the incredible work being done here as well as what health care jobs they should be preparing students to pursue as a career.”
After their weeklong rotation, the teachers expressed their appreciation to the Memorial Hermann Greater Heights staff–applauding their professionalism and passion as caregivers. They also expressed their thanks for the staff taking time to give them real world experiences about the health care industry.
“The program has exposed me to health care career options that you don’t hear about unless you know someone in health care,” said Grays. “Not all of our students want to attend a four-year college. Some want to go to a community college for two years and pick up skills so they can begin working. This program has exposed me to those jobs in health care that are readily available to those who want to enter the workforce with some education under their belt.”
Each teacher echoed Grays in saying they learned useful information that equipped them to better craft meaningful and relevant curriculum for their students.
“We want the teachers to get the full spectrum of health care roles and how it takes a team to run a hospital,” Jadlowski said. “We hope their experiences at Greater Heights will help motivate and inspire their students to consider health care as a profession.”