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Health News Florida

Naval Hospital Teams Up With Jacksonville High School To Introduce Students To Medicine

Students look on as Petty Officer 3rd Class Gary Abdullah demonstrates how to take a patient's blood pressure
Students look on as Petty Officer 3rd Class Gary Abdullah demonstrates how to take a patient's blood pressure

Inside a classroom at Jacksonville’s Naval Air Station, 13 high school students from Darnell-Cookman High School of the Medical Arts sit at attention.

The students are taking part in the Naval Hospital’s fifth annual internship program, Science, Service, Medicine & Mentoring. The program aims to engage the next generation of military medical practitioners.

As part of the program, students gain an inside look at how medicine works in a Navy hospital, as they shadow medical professionals, attend lectures, and participate in basic healthcare training exercises.

Cmdr. FranciscoWonpatsaid the program is a chance for the base to engage with Jacksonville civilians, especially with the next generation.

“We try to find opportunities to bring the civilian community into our facilities so they can see what we do, and with the high school students, it’s an opportunity to replace us who are leaving military medicine, or leaving the military,” he said.

Rising sophomore Talaia Meade became interested in going into psychiatry after working on a school project, but keeps an open mind.

“I think (the program) gives me more of the hands-on experience that could help me decide what career I’d like to go into, or decide what path I’d like to take to get to that career,” she said.

The group consists of other sophomores and juniors, like Talaia, who are getting a head start on deciding where their futures might lie.

Kiera Mallory, who will be entering 11th grade, said that a broken arm in her younger days inspired her to work towards becoming an orthopedic surgeon. She is considering entering the Navy for practical reasons.

“I learned about going to medical school for the military, and then they pay for your college, so I became interested in that,” she said.

So far, she added, her favorite part of the program has been the chance to see how physical therapy works, and to interact with patients while learning some of their stories.

The program runs throughout the week, during which students will rotate through medical departments, learn basic healthcare skills, and participate in a combat-care-simulation obstacle course

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