Yesenia Lagunas, Marisol Mendoza, and Aixa Quinto help prepare rooms, shadow providers, take inventory and do other routine tasks. They cannot provide medical care, but can take patients’ vital signs with supervision.
The paid internship is competitive. It’s part of Chicago Public Schools’ Career Technical Education medical education track. Interns are placed at area medical centers but to our knowledge, this is the first time they have been at a Federally Qualified Health Center, FQHC, clinic in Chicago.
All three students have been on the CTE medical track since sophomore year and hope to go on to a career in medicine after graduating from high school next year. Lagunas said she’s had the chance to see everyone from babies to older patients so far. Mendoza appreciates that providers take time to answer her questions after treating patients.
Staff enjoy having them around. “Aixa is a joy to work with,” said Marquitta Moore, site manager at HHC-Lincoln Square. She remembers her own experience shadowing CNAs at University of Illinois at Chicago when she was a CPS student herself: “Everybody needs exposure to make sure this work is something they want to do.”
Heartland Health Centers is already committed to providing comprehensive health service to students at Roosevelt and Sullivan through health clinics at both schools, so inviting interns from those schools into the clinics was a natural next step, according to Liz Lamere, nurse manager for our School Based Health Centers.
“We are pleased to be the first FQHC in Chicago partnering with the schools we serve to provide career and educational opportunities to students,” Lamere said. “Helping the students meet their academic and career goals is also a way to help strengthen some of the social determinants of health in the community, and it helps us to partner with the schools we serve in a different way.”