For students growing up in undeserved communities, it can be a challenge to gain exposure to a career as a physician, nurse or other position in the medical field. That’s why Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles has been taking part in the Hippocrates Circle program for 13 years.
On June 3, about 20 students from Wright and Audubon middle schools who had expressed interest in pursuing careers in the medical field, celebrated their graduation from a Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles job shadow program at the Doubletree by Hilton in Culver City.
Keynote speakers at the graduation event included State Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, who addressed the group in a pre-recorded video; and Ronald Copeland, MD, Kaiser Permanente Senior Vice President & Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer.
Over the past two months, students shadowed Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles physicians, and learned more about the path to becoming a physician. Students also learned about many other roles in the medical field, toured the Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles Medical Center, and attended a Health Care Ambassador’s Day where students took part in CPR demonstrations, dissections, and received information about nutrition and exercise tips for a living a healthy lifestyle.
“We found that students from underserved communities in our area might be interested in becoming doctors but didn’t have the ability to interface with a physician or go to a medical center or school,” said Dr. Erique Emel, MD, physician champion for the Hippocrates Circle program at Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles. “We really go out to interface with those students – give them the exposure, experience and encouragement to see what it’s like to talk to and interface with a doctor. Hopefully we will inspire them to start their own journey to become physicians.”
The program was first started at KP in 2000 at the San Diego Medical Center.