Gearing up for experience at local hospitals, five Ventura County teenagers will be the first to participate in a new medical internship program in Santa Paula.
As participants in the Doctor Sam Edwards Summer Health Internship Program, the 16- to 18-year-olds will get an in-depth look at the medical field, including shadowing a doctor.
The program is designed to give students the chance to explore the medical field, said Bill Bartels, president of the Santa Clara Valley Wellness Foundation.
The students are Gislia Negrete, 16, Elissa Rilo, 17, and Jasper Aguayo, 17, all incoming seniors at Santa Paula High School; Yanelle Diaz, 17, an incoming senior at Fillmore High School; and Ashley Morino, 18, a Fillmore High graduate who will go to CSU San Jose.
"I have always wanted to explore a career in health so I can be doing something where I can be helping people," Morino said. "I am hoping I will begin to gain the experience in what is really involved in the field."
The foundation, a hospital-based group serving Fillmore, Santa Paula and Piru, partnered with the Ventura County Health Care Agency to offer the program. Organizers have been developing it for a year to simulate hospital hiring processes and provide training.
"The competition was tough," Bartels said. "These students really stood above the rest."
Each student had to submit a résumé, transcript, letters of recommendation and a cover letter and have a three-person board interview.
During the internship, which will run from July 9 to Aug. 24, the students will rotate through departments in the hospitals including emergency, radiology and administration and support.
Negrete is looking forward to shadowing a doctor.
"I just thought it would be like working on an internship with just a lot of paperwork," Negrete said. "It will be a better experience."
Working five days a week for eight hours, the interns will receive an $8.50 hourly stipend.
"This really is an important opportunity for youths in the valley interested in the health field," said county Supervisor Kathy Long. "We hope to see it grow."