Providence Saint Joseph Caregivers Share Their Career Journeys With Burroughs H.S. Seniors

Anyone of these Burroughs Students might be your Surgeon someday. Photo by © Ross A Benson

On January 26th the Hope Conference Room at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center hosted students from the John Burroughs High School National Academy Foundation (NAF) Medical Academy.  Over a dozen hospital leaders from different clinical areas met with the high school seniors in round table discussions, followed by department tours.

At 9:00 AM, around 40 JBHS NAF Medical Academy students arrived at the conference room and were seated in front of complimentary Providence journals at their tables.  Karl Keeler, the hospital’s Chief Executive, welcomed the students and kicked off the introductions by sharing his high school photo and education timeline via a PowerPoint slide.  Each doctor and hospital leader took a moment to share with the students where they began and where they are now.

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

The NAF Medical Academy at Burroughs is a four-year program that gives students a taste of what’s going on in the medical field and how they can be a part of helping heal people.  Through the academy, students learn about the medical issues that impact the world and get hands-on experience with understanding the human body, what causes harm, and how to treat and heal patients.

BUSD NAF Academy Director, Alyson Edge, has been planning this visit to Providence for the past five years and was so excited to bring the vision to fruition.  The BHS NAF Medical Academy will be having its upcoming visit in late February. 

After introductions, the students broke out into round tables and chose departments that were their top interest. There was a total of 12 round tables consisting of labor and delivery maternity, neonatal intensive care unit, laboratory, dietary, biomedical, physician, surgery, emergency, imaging, respiratory, physical therapy and occupational therapy, and pharmacy.

The academy students were involved with their table leaders, asking questions and learning about the day-to-day logistics of the department.  At the respiratory table, students learned about how important that department was during the COVID pandemic, and at labor and delivery, students looked through thank you cards from parents who had their babies delivered at the hospital. 

At the NICU department table, the “Giraffe” infant incubator was on display which provides enhanced level care for newborns. The physical therapy table shared PT tools with the students that are used during appointments. “The most common thing I heard from the students was that each speaker was engaging and truly passionate about their job,” said Edge. “I think the students were initially attracted to the speaker tables with the most props, but I spoke with every student during lunch and they all said that they connected with different speakers.”

After switching tables four times, the academy students took a lunch break before splitting off into groups for department tours. Edge followed up with students after the presentations and found that one of the students really enjoyed learning about physical therapy and had never considered that field before the round tables. Another student found that her initial interest in nutrition and the dietary department was solidified through the experience and gave her much-needed insight into the educational and career path needed to continue.

“We are always thankful for community partners and the time they give to teach our students,” said Edge. The NAF Academy has two programs at JBHS and three at Burbank High School. Applications are currently open and accepting online submissions until Friday, February 3rd at 5:00 PM. For more information visit