In 2009 Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego (RCH) launched FACES for the Future (FACES) with the goal of facilitating healthcare careers among high risk youth in an underserved community. FACES in San Diego grew out of a successful program at Children’s Hospital in Oakland, and is a member of the state-wide FACES Coalition. FACES is a three year academic and career preparation program in partnership with San Diego Unified School District’s Hoover High School students enrolled in the school’s Academy for Health and Healthier Communities (AHHC), and College, Career and Technical Education (CCTE). In 2013, FACES reached out to include students from nearby Crawford High School.
When the program started, it involved students in grades 10-12. In 2014, FACES expanded to include freshmen. Students travel together as a cohort throughout the four years of the program, for both core academic classes and health related classes. Hoover High provides core academics and, in partnernship with CCTE, Project Lead the Way biomedical science courses. RCH provides hospital-based and community-based rotations as well as school-based staffing. FACES core staff include an on-site project coordinator and a social worker, who facilitate real world experiences, workshops, college trips, leadership training and student support.
The FACES program is structured around five primary program components:
- Academic enhancement
- Personal development
- Psychosocial support
- Real world experience
- Alumni support
FACES addresses two very important goals for Rady Children’s: contributing to postiive youth development and training our next generation of health care leaders.
Health care in changing. Health care reform and technology are evolving. The workforce is aging and experienced healthcare providers will be retiring in record numbers. Nationally, the population, and thus the patient base, is aging as well, and diversity is increasing. Implementation of the Affordable Care Act is driving demand for more healthcare professionals and workforce development efforts must align with industry needs.
FACES curriculum is unique in that it highlights team and leadership development, goal setting, and building confidence through experience as well as assistance to further students’ education to realize their career dreams. Post secondary education produces numerous benefits. Studies have shown that education level is directly proportional to higher salaries and improved quality of life. Higher education can provide more economic flexibility, better job prospects, and improved overall health.