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Salinas Valley Health Invests in Next Generation of Medical Professionals

Salinas Valley Health Invests in Next Generation of Medical Professionals

Media Contact: Karina Rusk

A unique program at Salinas Valley Health supports the dreams of first-generation college-bound students by investing in the potential talents of local high school students. At the same time, Summer Health Institute (SHI) is an innovative way to address the critical shortage of healthcare professionals with a ‘grow your own’ approach.

“We open up a world of opportunity for our Summer Health scholars,” says Shannon Graham, Director of Volunteer and Health Career Services at Salinas Valley Health. “Summer Health Institute introduces them to the many career options in a healthcare environment and provides them with hands on education and mentoring to pursue their passion. Many of our program graduates return to build a career at Salinas Valley Health and serve the communities where they grew up.”

SHI is an intensive five-week program designed to empower students with essential knowledge and skills through mentorships, classroom instruction, case studies, interactive workshops, and real-world experiences. By immersing themselves in the healthcare environment, students gain invaluable insights into various medical disciplines, allowing them to make informed decisions about their future studies. There are 27 local students in the 2023 SHI cohort including 17-year- old Stephanie Antolin. Stephanie’s parents immigrated from Mexico City and overcame significant challenges to establish a life in Salinas in 2000.

“I really hope to become my family’s first doctor” says Stephanie Antolin, Summer Health Institute student. “This is such a wonderful opportunity and I really want to pursue medicine. It would be a dream to work here. It is such an amazing hospital.”

SHI also emphasizes the importance of community engagement and encourages students to give back through projects that address healthcare disparities and support underserved populations.

“The community advocacy projects are an important element of the Institute,” says Pete Delgado, president/CEO of Salinas Valley Health. “The students see how they can have a big impact on promoting healthy lifestyles and the importance of expanding access to care by providing underserved populations with quality care through initiatives like our Salinas Valley Health Mobile Clinic.”

Students from area high schools undergo a competitive application process for the opportunity to attend SHI. The program is conducted in collaboration with Hartnell College and ROP/Health Academies, all working to expand the number of future medical professionals amid a labor shortage in the healthcare profession.

The SHI coursework culminates in week five with the student presentations of case studies and community advocacy projects, a formal graduation ceremony held at Hartnell College with Salinas Valley Health president/CEO Pete Delgado presenting the students with Certificates of Completion, and a tour of Stanford University.

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