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Media’s HealthWorks Academies Appeals to Teens

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In 2006, Dale Keshishian was working as a healthcare administrator when she attended a conference at the Jefferson School of Population Health in Center City. In the midst of leadership development seminars, one speaker’s words really hit home for her. “The dean from Stanford University said that one-third of physicians will reach retirement age by 2020,” she says.

Dale Keshishian, founder and  CEO of HealthWorks Academies, with students from the University of the Sciences. (Photo by Jared Castaldi)With that, Keshishian anticipated the extreme demands that would be placed on the system. “I became really aware of what that meant if we didn’t have a sufficient pipeline [of young professionals into the healthcare industry],” says Keshishian, who lives in Upper Providence Township.

Today, as the founder and CEO of HealthWorks Academies, Keshishian is devising a plan to tackle the problem with “education from the outside in,” focusing on giving a diverse high school population an early introduction to careers in healthcare and life sciences. Its curriculum is adaptable to schools of any size, location or jurisdiction.

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While working as a doctor, nurse or EMT often seems like a more attainable goal to a young person, HealthWorks expands perceptions of the industry, exposing teens to other areas—like pharmaceuticals, public health, and health policy and education. The program then matches students with mentors in their chosen field.

While HealthWorks Academies is still in its early stages, four Philly high schools are slated to participate when it launches in 18-24 months. “Not only does it have a really robust curriculum, but technology will allow it to link students across the country,” she says.

To learn more, email Dale Keshishian at dkesh@healthworksacademies.org.

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