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29 Graduate from Summer Health Institute

29 Graduate from Summer Health Institute

July 14, 2022- The Summer Health Institute class of 2022 invested five weeks of their summer to advance their future as medical health professionals. After a competitive application process, this year, 29 students from high schools across Monterey County will take part in a special graduation ceremony Thursday evening at Hartnell College, a key partner in the unique program.

“Thanks to this opportunity, I’m confident and passionate about following my future career,” says Monserrat Peralta-Sanchez, an 18-year-old Castroville resident. “Being able to shadow physicians and staff has shifted my perspective into appreciating everyone in this field. I would like to return and serve my community by improving the lives of others.”

Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System launched Summer Health Institute (SHI) in 2003 during a time when the national conversation turned to a shortage of healthcare workers. That shortage remains a concern today and SHI is designed to support students with an interest in the profession and nurture that spark with an immersive program giving students an inside look at the full spectrum of opportunities in healthcare.

“This program is one way we tap into the talents and culture of our diverse population,” says Pete Delgado, Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System President/CEO. “Our Summer Health Institute students show phenomenal growth during their time with us. Interwoven in the curriculum are a strong emphasis on teamwork and community because those values reflect our success as an organization. We will watch with pride as they pursue their careers and many will return to serve the communities where they grew up.”

The “grow your own” approach to recruiting future healthcare workers involves numerous partnerships, including Hartnell Collage and ROP/Health Academies. The program engages close to 100 SVMHS team members and others to make presentations, offer job shadowing and provide mentorships. Each student works on a team to create a patient case study and take part in a Community Advocacy Project. One of teams supported the SVMHS Mobile Health Clinic outreach to underserved families by organizing a school supply drive, gathering and giving away more than 3,000 new school supplies to give away to families in Salinas and Greenfield.

“The amount of support we received was astonishing,” says 16-year-old Tiana Alvarez of Prunedale. “This opportunity of being able to give back to the community was uplifting. Hearing the words “Thank you so much, I have five kids and this is a relief” gave me a sense of empathy and compassion. This has been a wonderful and motivating experience.”

Peralta-Sanchez who came to the United States with her family from Mexico when she was 14-years-old is graduating with a confirmed passion to pursue her dreams. She says, “I’ll be attending Sacramento State and will pursue a major in Biology with a minor in Human Anatomy. I plan on transferring to UC Davis and applying for their Medical School in hopes of becoming a Cardiovascular/Thoracic Surgeon.”

Since 2003, SVMHS has graduated 273 students from the program. You can learn more about the Summer Health Institute here.

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