Classes begin today at JSerra Catholic High School in San Juan Capistrano, and some students are looking forward to learning more than basic curricular studies. The school’s groundbreaking pre-med preparatory magnet program is offering high school students the opportunity to get a jump-start on medical studies.
JSerra pre-med students with SimMan
The program is a collaboration between JSerra and Mission Hospital. Students will have an opportunity to shadow full-time health-care practitioners and learn about the medical profession. Students in the inaugural freshman class will complete an intensive four-year specialized curriculum with an emphasis in science. Sophomores, juniors and seniors in the program will complete an adjusted version.
Incoming students applying to participate in the program were required to write an essay, qualify for honors biology and geometry, and interview with school officials.
To remain in the program, students must maintain a 3.7 GPA and a 95-percent attendance record.
“This is an important day in the history of our school and our community,” said JSerra President and CEO Frank Talarico. “Our students will get a unique real-life taste for the medical profession that will better prepare them for a successful future.”
Part of the program will involve working with SimMan, a portable patient simulator that can replicate real patient scenarios. SimMan is equipped with clinical functionality – such as breathing, talking and bleeding – and realistic anatomy.
Mission Hospital CEO and JSerra Board of Directors Member Peter F. Bastone said the hospital was looking for new ways to encourage future generations of doctors and nurses.
“What better way to excite prospective medical students than to introduce them to hands-on scenarios,” said Bastone. “We are confident that this is just the beginning of a long-term partnership. Maybe a future Mission Hospital chief-of-staff will find his or her passion in this program.”
Besides interacting with hospital staff, the intensive curriculum will include honors and advanced-placement courses in biology, chemistry, physics, anatomy and physiology, and religion. Students also will hear regular lectures from Mission Hospital staff on the business of health care, disease stats, ethics and other topics. Graduating seniors must complete a final project, internships and a service project.
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