Students at New Hyde Park Memorial High School filled their gymnasium to learn about more than 50 different careers in medicine Friday.
“We kind of began this program with the idea of teaching students that there are so many other careers in healthcare other than doctors and nurses,” Alexa Freel, community relations coordinator for Northwell Health and Long Island Jewish Medical Center, said. “This gives a whole different dynamic to everything Northwell has to offer.”
Freel helped plan and organize each different service line of work that students encountered. Tables lining the walls and in the center of the gym included emergency medicine, nutrition, nurse practitioners, security, risk management, social work and surgery, among dozens of others.
Northwell Health is New York’s largest private employer, providing jobs to more than 50,000 people in 2017, according to a ranking from independent research firm CGR.
Sadad Mohammad, a service excellence coordinator, started doing volunteer work at the age of 16, before studying to become a physicians assistant.
Despite enjoying his work as a PA, Mohammad told students that he transitioned into working on patient experiences do give back.
“I found that the experience was more gratifying,” Mohammad said. “In doing this, I can make sure that peoples’ needs are being heard and they won’t be hesitant the next they need to go to the doctor.”
Darius Davis, a senior at the high school, said that the event was a nice change of pace from others.
“Talking to all of the professionals gives more of an immersive experience,” Davis said. Davis said he was interested in pursuing a career in healthcare management after graduation.
His family is heavily involved in the healthcare industry, but Davis has interests of his own in business and would like to merge the two worlds, he said.
Students, upon entering the gym, were handed a “career passport,” a full list of the different career booths with space for a signature next to the name. To encourage students to engage, those who spoke to at least ten different representatives were entered into a prize raffle.
New Hyde Park Memorial High School Principal Richard Faccio said his students barely needed the motivation.
“If you hold an event like this somewhere else, you might see students congregating and not getting involved,” Faccio said. “But here all the students are talking to people and want to be a part of this.”
Faccio said that as someone who came from the realm of business prior to teaching, he recognizes that partnering with Northwell for the event was a phenomenal opportunity for students.
“Because Northwell is such a large organization, they have the ability to give us career options that most places couldn’t,” Faccio said. “It gives kids an opportunity to see that there are other career fields in the medical field and what steps they require after school.”
Julie Yeh, a clinical coordinator for organ donation, explained her job to students to dispel misconceptions about organ donating.
A common misconception is that religions don’t support organ donation, but no religion expressly condemns it, Yeh said. There is no often cost of donating for donors’ families and no one is ever too old to donate, Yeh said.
“This is my favorite program that we do,” Matthew DePace, regional director of corporate community relations for Northwell, said. “If we can change the lives of some kids, in their trajectory for where they want to go in their career, then I know that we made a difference.”