On April 28th, 2018 UCSF hosted the 15th annual High School Outreach Conference (HSOC) for over 300 Bay Area high school students. HSOC is an event put on by the UCSF ADEA student chapter as well as the HSOC inter-professional planning committee made up of students from all the different professional schools at UCSF. The purpose of the event is to allow high school students to get exposed to the wide variety of healthcare and research fields UCSF has to offer, in hopes that the students are inspired to pursue a career in healthcare someday. High school is a great time to freely explore interests before going to college and having to choose a major and make career decisions. Therefore, our hope is that students who attend the conference find a field they’re passionate about, or at least can eliminate some they are less interested in pursuing to make the decision-making process a little easier.
The students arrived early in the morning and picked up their free T-shirt, goodie bag, and info packet for the day before enjoying breakfast. Then, we kicked off the morning with an inspiring talk from our student speaker, Talita Oseguera (RN, Nurse Midwife/Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner c/o 2019), who talked to the students about her journey from high school to where she is now. She also provided some great insights on how the journey can be more difficult for people who are under-represented in healthcare but encouraged the students to pursue whatever they are passionate about, even if there are not many people who look like them in that field. After Talita’s wonderful talk, it was time for the students to break up in their rotation groups to go to stations put on by seven different professional programs at UCSF including Dentistry, Medicine, Pharmacy, Physical Therapy, Nursing, Graduate Studies, and Clinical Lab Sciences.
Dentistry: Students got a hands-on view of the dental field by taking impressions and pouring up molds of a tooth, as well as getting to drill a “cavity” out of a plastic tooth and then fill it with light curing composite material.
Medicine: Radiology technicians demonstrated how ultrasound machines work and the students also got to try! Additionally, medical students brought some specimens in so the high schoolers could examine real human organs including a heart and brain.
Pharmacy: The students learned about the various careers available to pharmacists as well as how they fill prescriptions and count pills. They also got an introduction to compound pharmacy and participated in a demonstration where they compounded lotion from household items.
Physical Therapy: A lot of activities and exercises took place at the PT demo where students learned about prescribing exercise therapy, how to stabilize and support the musculoskeletal system, and other tasks that physical therapists perform.
Nursing: Nurses bring a holistic approach to patient care and at this station the students learned how to do full body assessments and take vital signs including measuring heart rate and blood pressure.
Graduate Studies: The students became researchers at this station as they extracted DNA from both a strawberry and their own cheek, and then compared the two to analyze their similarities and differences.
Clinical Lab Sciences: Clinical Lab Scientists process and analyze specimens from the hospital. The students got a tour of the various departments including the chemistry, hematology, and microbiology laboratories.
When the students had each visited every rotation station, they all reconvened to hear from the keynote speaker, Dr. Daniel Lowenstein. He is a medical doctor as well as the current Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost at UCSF, and we were very honored and excited to have him as a speaker this year. With his great ability to capture an audience’s attention, he detailed his non-linear path to the medical field as an example to the students that you may not know what career you are passionate about in high school and that is okay. But eventually, and in your own unique way, you’ll discover what makes you happy and pursue it.
Overall it was an exciting and high energy day for the students filled with inspiring speakers as well as hands on activities to give them a taste of the different healthcare fields UCSF has to offer. On the evaluation forms, almost every high school student indicated that after attending the conference they were more likely to pursue a career in healthcare than before the conference. This was great feedback for the planning committee and very encouraging as that is always our goal and the reason we work so hard to make it a great day. Year after year this conference is a fun way to come together with the other professional schools to inspire the next generation of healthcare professionals and to remember why we chose the career path that we did. We are already looking forward to planning another successful HSOC next year!