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Robert Schmitz

BJC, BJWCH honored for teaching high schoolers about health careers

BJC and Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital received the Special School District of St. Louis County’s (SSD) Community Partners Award March 12 during the SSD’s monthly board of education meeting. The award recognized BJC’s partnership with SSD, Parkway School District and BJWCH on the Pre-Professional Health Sciences Academy (PPHSA), a program for high school seniors hosted at BJWCH.

The PPHSA, now in its seventh year, has helped 100 high school seniors from the Parkway School District explore careers in health care by shadowing hospital employees in 17 different BJWCH departments.

“It’s estimated there will be more than 2 million health care job vacancies by 2025,” says BJWCH president Trish Lollo. “Programs like the PPHSA help fill those vacancies by educating the students of today about the jobs of tomorrow.”

Through BJC School Outreach and Youth Development (SOYD), BJC supports several educational opportunities for area high school students. These opportunities take the shape of both classroom-based education and community-based vocational learning experiences at BJC hospitals and service organizations.

SSD and BJC SOYD have a longstanding partnership that goes back many years.

“We’ve been working with SSD for more than 17 years,” says Diana Wilhold, BJC SOYD director. “During that time, we’ve built, and continue to strengthen, our partnership to better serve all students residing in St. Louis.”

In addition to PPHSA students at BJWCH, students are also placed at Christian Hospital, St. Louis Children’s Hospital and Barnes-Jewish Hospital for career-exploration opportunities.

“The PPHSA partnership, as well as other opportunities through BJC, correspond perfectly with SSD’s vision,” says Dave Baker, SSD assistant superintendent of college and career readiness. “SSD partners with industries and agencies for every student’s success, as we strive to provide excellence and equity to youth of all abilities and interests.”

Wilhold and Lollo jointly received the award on behalf of BJC. They were joined by Hannah Keane, RN, BSN, a former PPHSA student, and Valerie Tsukhai, a current student in the PPHSA program.

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