LINKS
2007-09-12 / Front Page

Future doctors are in the house

New Health Science Specialty Center begins at Cosby
By Elli Morris
CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Drew Simmons practices taking Casey Schiedel's blood pressure. Both attend the new Cosby High School Health Science Specialty Center. Drew Simmons practices taking Casey Schiedel's blood pressure. Both attend the new Cosby High School Health Science Specialty Center. The new Cosby High School Health Science Specialty Center isn't so much a location - for in fact there isn't even one dedicated classroom for the new center - as much as it is an outlook and an attitude.

"The goal is to start [student] exploration into health science careers. So many people think the field's just doctors and nursing when so much more is out there," says Kim Raimist, specialty center coordinator.

The program crosses typical boundaries of subject matter, offering courses in health science biology, health science chemistry and health science English. For the English courses, specific novels have been chosen to help broaden the students' understanding of the health science field. The reading list includes "The Pact" and "My Sister's Keeper," giving students challenging topics that have a more human focus along with the health focus.

"Even if you're undecided about a field, the program lets students explore everything so they can decide," reports Casey Schiedel, a sophomore who transferred from Monacan High School to attend the Cosby Health Science Center this year. Schiedel has been volunteering for the past two years with the outpatient therapy department at Children's Hospital and has been curious about health sciences since the sixth-grade.

Coordinator Kim Raimist hopes the new Health Science Specialty Center at Cosby High School will help fill a need for health care workers in the region. Coordinator Kim Raimist hopes the new Health Science Specialty Center at Cosby High School will help fill a need for health care workers in the region. "The physical therapy field is competitive, and I want to learn as much as I can. The program sounded really interesting," says Schiedel.

Partnering with HCA Chippenham Johnston-Willis, Bon Secours St. Francis Medical Center, and Virginia Commonwealth University and the VCU School of Medicine, the center is hoping to both attract and retain future health care workers for the Richmond area.

"There's a need in the area, a growing need for health care workers. If we train them here, maybe they will stick around," explains Raimist.

Although the center accepted only 167 students, Raimist received 318 applications for this year, signaling a big interest in the new program. Administrators took both freshman and sophomore students to let in as many students as they could this first year.

Each student had to submit an application that included a 250-word essay. In groups of 3-5, each applicant had a 10-minute interview with a health care worker and an educator to determine if the student had a genuine interest in the field. Traditionally, most specialty center applicant pools attract the upper 10-20 percent grade students. For the health science center, administrators accepted across the board "because not all students have to be 'A' students. We took as good a cross-section as we could based on the applicant pool. We factored in their interest in health care," says Raimist.

Already, the center has its own booster club, the Booster Shots, headed up by Shelly Schuetz. The booster board, with six officers and 10 at-large members, put on a picnic for parents and students, feeding 200 at the social bonding event.

"We kind of see ourselves as a school within a school," says Schuetz.

The center has its own colors, red and blue, and its own logo, a red heartbeat. For school spirit days, the health science center students will have the chance to sport scrubs in Titan colors but with the heart logo.

This year's class has as wide a variety of reasons for being in the program as there are jobs available.

"I think it's so cool how the human body moves," announces Brad Custer, who wants to go into biomedical engineering and "build legs with wire and metal." Rebecca Schuetz wants to learn about sports medicine in more detail. An athlete herself, she's already had personal experiences in the health science field with knee and elbow surgery from soccer injuries. Drew Simmons has great ambitions of "getting into a good college to get into a better college for grad school," so he can go into neurological surgery and "drill through skulls. I don't know why, but I love the neurological system."

Simmons sums up the basic premise behind the center: it provides the chance to reach out to students and help them not only achieve their goals and be better prepared for a career, but to offer the opportunity to touch student's hearts and souls so they may live fulfilled, meaningful lives.

Return to top