Medical programming and coursework will be available this fall at a Toledo Public Schools magnet high school, thanks to a $100,000 grant from ProMedica.
The grant, announced Tuesday at the Toledo Early College High School, is start-up money for a planned four-year science, technology, engineering, math, and medicine track at the school. The ProMedica grant helps establish the medicine portion of the track.
Students who sign up for the track will shadow doctors, nurses, and other health-care professionals, will attend professional seminars, and will attend summer learning programs, among other elements.
"We are always faced with a challenge of providing our students with more innovative-type programs that stimulate them intellectually," Robin Wheatley, principal of Toledo Early College High School, said, "and this is a perfect example of one of those programs."
The medical program will expose students to careers they may have never considered, Early College science teacher Tim Bolin said. Many of the school's students are underprivileged and are unaware of the academic path needed for many medical careers. The students will have one-on-one mentors, complete a medical ethics course, and work in internships and clinical experience.
Many doctors have early influences that spark their interests in the field, said Dr. David James, chief quality and integration officer for ProMedica. Otherwise, the years of school and high debt loads can intimidate students and push them toward other careers.
"What about kids who don't have that influence in their lives when they are very young?" he asked.
ProMedica has a vested interest in developing education programs focused on medicine, said Randy Oostra ProMedica president and chief executive officer. The country's population is aging, and many jobs in the field will remain unfilled without qualified applicants.
The Early College school allows students to take 60 credits of college courses through the University of Toledo while in high school. The program is housed at UT's Scott Park campus.
Funding permitting, TPS plans to essentially merge the Early College school and the Toledo Technology Academy, the district's technology-based magnet high school housed at the former DeVilbiss High School on Upton Avenue. The two schools would retain their identities while serving as high schools for a K-12 STEMM school. The elementary portion, planned for unused space at DeVilbiss, would serve as a feeder into the two high schools.
Full implementation largely depends on a National Science Foundation grant for which TPS has applied. Superintendent Jerome Pecko said the district survived the first round of the grant-selection process.