JSerra and Mission Hospital’s Innovative Pre-Med Program Fills Important Niche

* Below is CEO Frank Talarico’s Capistrano Dispatch column. It runs this week.

At JSerra Catholic High School, we invest in futures. No, I don’t mean the stock market. I mean the futures of our students as they prepare for their next steps in college, the working world and life in general.

That’s why we are so excited about our newest venture – a pre-med professional magnet program that will engage and challenge students interested in medical and healthcare careers.

Frank Talarico

It’s the first in a series of magnet programs that will offer rigorous curriculum in subjects such as law, business and religious vocations.
We will start with about 25 students this spring.

Students will shadow surgeons, neurologists, nurses and the other industry-leading professionals at Mission Hospital. They’ll do clinical rotations and complete a senior project similar to a thesis.

“The timing couldn’t be better,” says Mission Hospital CEO and JSerra Board Member, Peter Bastone.

There are shortages in doctors and other healthcare professionals – and healthcare reform will add to the demand for new medical professionals.

The Association of American Medical Colleges projects that by 2020, demand for doctors will outstrip current resources. Our nation will need “a 30 percent increase in U.S. medical school enrollment by 2015, which will result in an additional 5,000 new M.D.s annually,” the association says. The association calls for increases in medical school enrollments and increases in the establishment of medical schools.

Combine this with the increasing demand for healthcare professionals nationwide and the demand for innovative new programs like ours become clear.

Students in our four-year, science-focused program will have a huge head start. By the time they reach college, they will have seen firsthand how to deal with trauma patients and others in critical need. Students in anatomy class might watch surgeries broadcast live from Mission’s operating room into a JSerra classroom.

Working with Mission’s renowned staff on solving real world problems will invigorate and challenge our students in new and exciting ways. We believe this innovative effort is the first of its kind in California – and maybe even the nation.

These are exciting times at JSerra. In the past few months, more than 30 of our students earned distinction on advanced placement tests. We won our first Trinity League football game. A former presidential speechwriter, William McGurn, lectured our senior class. And cross country coach Martin Dugard’s latest book, “The Murder of Tut,” made the New York Times best seller list.

And now, we are taking another giant step forward with the introduction of our professional magnet programs.

At JSerra, we invest in the futures of our students.

We’re happy to report the investments appear to be paying off.