FACES History

FACES History

In 2009 Rady Children’s Hospital- San Diego (RCHSD) launched FACES for the Future (FACES) with the goal of facilitating healthcare careers among high risk youth in a socio-economically diverse 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.

A large groups of FACES students

In 2018, after having implemented their own health career pathway program, nearby Kearny High School began a partnership with Rady Children’s Hospital- San Diego to complete their seniors’ clinical rotations on the hospital campus. In 2020, they became a FACES for the Future program in the San Diego cohort along side Crawford and Hoover High Schools.

The FACES program begins with students in their high school sophomore year and continues through graduation. Students work together throughout the three years of the program, and when able, take their core academic and health related classes as a cohort. In partnership with CCTE, students take additional Project Lead the Way biomedical science courses to expand their interest and knowledge in the health careers field. RCHSD provides hospital-based job shadow rotations and coordinates community-based rotations, as well as offers school-based staffing. FACES core staff members facilitate and/or coordinate career experiences, workshops, college trips, leadership training and student support.

The FACES program is structured around four primary program components:

  • Academic Enhancement
  • Professional/Leadership Development
  • Wellness Support
  • Health Careers Experience


FACES addresses two very important goals for Rady Children’s: contributing to positive youth development and training our next generation of health care leaders.

Health care is 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.

Student talking with FACES Doctor

Another large group of FACES students

There are so many aspects of the program that I love so much…but the rigorous program is clearly there to show the students their own strength, their new found abilities & self awareness wrapped in self appreciation without losing sight of the walk still ahead. Erika Brown, Interpreter/Translator

The FACES students remind me about today’s youth and their need for exposure and support during a time of decision and life path. I am glad we can support them on the journey. Melanie Wright, Pediatric Audiologist

The one experience that will always stand out for me is a student from several years ago. When she first came to our unit she wanted to be a Surgeon. After spending 1 day, which is really 1 hour and 15 minutes, with one of our nurses she decided to become a nurse instead. She realized everything she wanted to do as a doctor- make a difference, spend time with patients, and help patients feel better – was what the nurse was doing. I was amazed that such a small amount of time could have such an profound impact on someone. Carrie Svendsen, BSN, RN, CPN

Love working with students and the growth of our future leaders! Adell Bateman, San Diego Family Care

The FACES program allow students to immerse themselves in the beauty and diversity of City Heights, all while further developing the intern’s professional development. Julio Garcia, City Heights Community Development Corporation

My favorite aspect of the FACES program is that students are allowed to go out to their community and get exposure to the different organizations and resources that strive to improve the livelihood of our growing and diverse communities. Noemi Romo, La Maestra Community Health Centers

My favorite part about the program is the ability to teach the students about an allied health profession: athletic training. Christina Saffran, Hoover High School Athletic Training