High School Students: Junior Academy

Orthopaedic Trauma Institute
2540 23rd Street, 
Bldg 7, 3rd Floor, Rm 3110 
San Francisco, CA 94110
Front Desk: (415)476-2124

Program Director - Mykel Jensen-Vallar
Senior Program Coordinators - Christine Chau, Ayra Rahman, Christina To

The OTI Junior Academy aims to educate, motivate and support young students striving to pursue a career in the medical industry.

OTI Junior Academy is a one-of-a-kind community outreach program and introduces high school students to the healthcare profession. The incoming high school seniors are from diverse, socioeconomic, and cultural backgrounds - 50% living below the poverty line.  The program engrosses students in healthcare to develop leaders and healers who in turn will guide and lead their community into a healthy future.

Junior Academy

Over the course of 7 weeks, members of the OTI team will introduce the students to different sides of healthcare: professional development workshops, surgical workshops, biomechanical engineering modules, anatomy lectures, cadaver-based anatomy, journal club, and an engrossing 8-week long case study. The most important contribution will be the shadowing hours of Zuckerberg SF General Hospital (ZSFG) and UCSF physicians at ZSFG provides to the students.

The program team asks departments to commit to a block of 4 hours/week if not more. The program aims to rotate all students through as many departments as possible. The overarching goal of the program is to introduce students of diverse, underrepresented socioeconomic/cultural backgrounds to the healthcare field in an effort to stimulate an awareness of this field to them working in tandem with the Orthopaedic Trauma Institute's team mission: to mend the injured, inspire innovators, and empower leaders to restore lives.

Description of each module:

Through Zoom, the program will expose students to distinct healthcare professionals, including epidemiologists, ICU nurses, respiratory therapists, public health educators, occupational therapists, and molecular cell biologists. In 2021, the program also introduced additional healthcare and healthcare adjacent careers such as social work, anesthesiology, dietitians, emergency medical technicians, pharmacy, as well as fire fighting and medical industry sales representatives. The objective will be to expose the students to healthcare professionals and to cover expectations, schooling, career journeys, affected populations, days-in-the-life, and potential costs. In the past, the program has drawn on healthcare professionals that have similar backgrounds to some of the students. The team will continue to provide a platform for leaders from the community to speak to the students, particularly on issues of inclusion, equity, and diversity in healthcare.
Responding to the COVID-19 era and beyond, the program will continue to adapt anatomy modules to cover the anatomy and physiology of anatomical sites most affected by the virus. However, the program will integrate its original education focus of musculoskeletal education with assistance from the app “Complete Anatomy to help with teachings. Students will identify key structures and landmarks. The program will fabricate anatomy kits and send them to the students. From the interactive models, students will be guided through physiological principles of cardiology and pulmonology, and take a closer look at how COVID-19 affects the musculoskeletal system of the body.
Public Health
A new project for students in the program will be for them to identify public health crises in their communities such as lack of education to medicine, food shortage, inequities to accessing care and mental health needs, as well as access to COVID-19 resources. This specific project will carry into their senior year of high school or freshman year of college with guidance from their mentors. Additionally, as the pandemic continues to exist, students will learn key principles of epidemiology and how to measure/investigate infectious diseases in closed and open populations. The students will be guided through numerous exercises ranging from outbreak scenarios to disease investigations. They will develop line-lists and epidemiological curves, and digest data to determine the cause of an outbreak. From there, students will offer hypothetical, focused interventions in the form of a public health intervention presentation at the end.
Evidence-Based Journal Club
Students will learn the principles of study design and analysis, specific to scientific literature. Many of the publications the students read will address the COVID-19 pandemic and the research surrounding it. The objective is to develop students’ literacy and critical thinking skills when reading scientific material. Each student group will be mentored in understanding the material and presenting it to their cohort. The rest of the students are required to read the material and provide thoughtful questions, contributing to lively question and answer sessions.

Students will explore the features and make up a human bone (femur or humerus) and fracture it. Data is then collected from an MTS machine to assist the native stiffness and flexibility of the bone where students then go through 2-3 interactions of constructs to restore the bone to its unfractured state.
Professional Development
Students will be taught enduring job application tools needed to apply to positions within the healthcare industry. The application process will include the submission of a personal statement coupled with a resume, and a professional interview that asks standard to difficult ethical and situational questions. In the program, mentors will review the applicant's resume, application, and interview the student. The objective of the mentorship section will be to hone students’ resumes, personal statements, and interview skills that will ready them for the college application process. Also new this coming year will be workshops on public speaking and receiving guidance on presenting case studies, projects, and achieving comfortability with the professional healthcare language.

Application Dates

Dates have not yet been set for the next Junior Academy.  Please check back!



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