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Proviso East, Proviso West Students Learn About Health Care Careers

January 29, 2015 03:10 PM
Dr. Melissa Simon said that she is able to help people in different ways as a doctor, including research and helping to write laws on health care.
"As a physician, you can do more than just work in a clinic or a hospital," said Dr. Simon, an obstetrician/gynecologist and a professor of clinical gynecology at Northwestern University. "You can impact health in pretty much any career."
Dr. Simon was the guest speaker on January 21 at Proviso West High School in the Career Spotlight Series through the Des Plaines Valley Education for Employment Regional Delivery System(DVR). The series sent students from participating schools that included Proviso West, Proviso East, Leyden, Oak Park-River Forest, and Riverside-Brookfield to lectures and programs on careers such as health care, finance, manufacturing, and engineering. The programs were presented by people currently working in those fields, such as Dr. Simon in the medical field.
"The intent is to expose students to a variety of careers including finance, engineering, health, IT, etc.," said Dr. Tracy Lett, chair for the career and technical education department for District 209. "The plan is to next take these students out of field trips to various locations and then hopefully assist students in gaining work experience in their interested/desired field."
Dr. Simon discussed her background, coming from a low-income area of Detroit to studying at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Chicago. She described to the students gathered in Proviso West’s Little Theater her experience studying public health and her time in medical school. She said that despite difficulties that included being homeless at times while growing up, she pushed on with her passion to help others.
"What helped me most was I stayed with my passion," Dr. Simon said. "I wanted to work with the community. I was able to find places and connections that helped me along the way."
Dr. Simon said that to be accepted into medical school, students need to have good grades, particularly in science courses, and be able to tell their story on why they want to go into medicine. To be a good physician, one needs to have skills in communication, be patient, and have passion for their work and compassion for others.
Students from Proviso East and Proviso West said that they were encouraged by what they heard.
"I thought that it was really important and that her words were encouraging," said Awnterra Taylor, a senior at Proviso East who wants to attend to UIC to study to become an ultrasound technician. "People always tell you that you can’t do it, but you know you can."
Jacques Hayes, a junior at Proviso West, said that he appreciated learning about the work that would go into his goal of becoming a physical therapist or trainer.
"It was good to know how many years you have to go to school and knowing other fields I may want to try," he said.


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