The Med School offers high school students a medical career pathway located at Manual High School in Denver. Now in its third year, the program is designed to immerse students in advanced classes that allow them to explore a variety of medical careers. Students enrolled in the program are given multiple unique opportunities for future employment and education including:
- Earning an Associate’s Degree while in high school
- A pathway for obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree at a reduced cost
- Work in specific medical field positions right out of high school (e.g., medical assistant, medical laboratory technician, certified nursing assistant, home health aid)
- “Hands on” education to explore many facets of the medical industry
- Engagement with school organizations and competitions
- Specific certifications that can be used for future employment
Why is The Med School important for my student?
Healthcare is one of the highest growth industries in the entire world. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 14.3 million people are employed in the healthcare industry, and it’s projected that 3.2 million new healthcare related jobs will be created over the next eight years.
The Med School pathway leads to careers within healthcare that may include:
- HealthDoc: doctor, surgeon, nurse, mortician
- HealthyDoc: nutritionist, OBGYN, physical therapist, occupational therapist, dental hygienist, dentist, sports medicine
- InvestigatingDoc: radiologist, phlebotomist, lab work, forensics
In The Med School program, students will visit local hospitals and laboratories to meet professionals in related fields and practice their skills with activities such as dissection (Career X), connect with mentors in the field (Career Coach), and participate in internship opportunities during the summer and school day (Career Launch). This curriculum is the backbone of the program and will help students identify which medical track they want to pursue based on their experiences in the classroom and the field. Additionally, students can earn a certificate in CPR. Below is a list of classes students can take in the program:
Principles of Biomedical Science
Students walk into class the first day to find a police scene! Anna Martinez is dead. Was it her angry business partner or jealous ex-husband? Or did she put herself into a deadly blood sugar coma? Students will use forensics skills to uncover the crime scene and identify the cause of death. Throughout the year, students will also explore the leading causes of death in the United States and learn how to protect themselves and their family from these common diseases. Finally, students will participate in a blood spatter lab, DNA extraction and learn CPR.
Human Body Systems
Starting with an empty skeleton, students will gradually build in the organs using clay then create a disease in one of their body systems and kill their “person” off! Students will complete many dissections to discover what an eye is made of, how a joint works, or how kidneys function. Throughout the entire class students will break the body down into its systems and learn how they function. Once students gain this insight, they will be given patient case studies, which they will have to research, diagnose and recommend treatment.
Health and Wellness
Good nutrition is one of the keys to a healthy life. People can improve their health by keeping a balanced diet. While in this class students will grow their own vegetables, participate in cooking competitions with healthy ingredients, learn how to make water taste more delicious than soda, and how to thrive while living in a food desert.
Bryan Terry, author and Soul Food Chef states his philosophy on working toward Food Justice:
“Start with the visceral, move to the cerebral, end with the political.” In the food matters class, working in tandem with experts from the NE Denver community, students will learn to make and taste familiar and unfamiliar foods; explore the existence (or lack of) health equity; and listen to community elders and stake holders who have been leading the fight to create a food system that supports the health of all people, exploring where students can engage and be advocates for change. Students will also gain skills in seed starting and growing their own food in our school garden.
The sports medicine class is designed to prepare students for the understanding of the care, prevention, treatment and rehabilitated practice regarding sports injuries. Students learn medical terminology, anatomical directions and positions, treatments and evaluation of all major joints in the body. The students are taught in the classroom but put this knowledge into practice as student athletic trainers.
Healthcare Community Partnerships
By partnering with Kaiser Permanente, The Med School students gain real world experiences and internships that help position them for further training in medical fields. Through the Career Connect, Career Coach and Career X programs, students receive:
- Individual mentoring support from an industry expert (Career Coach)
- Guidance in mapping out an academic and career plan (Career Coach)
- Career Exploration opportunities such as job shadows, field trips, behind-the-scenes tours and project-based learning (Career X)
- Connect key academic concepts to business applications (Career Connect)
- Development of critical soft skills (Career Connect)
FACES for the Future – Denver Health
The Med School program collaborates with FACES for the Future, a program that connects schools, health professionals and the community. Through the FACES for the Future partnership with Denver Health, students receive health careers training that connects the classroom to the workplace. Students are exposed to professional opportunities in health care through in a variety of health system departments including emergency medicine, the birthing center and nursing. The program includes a FACES “boot camp” to make sure students and patients are safe while maintaining respect and empathy for those in the hospital. Students then participate in their internship rotations throughout Denver Health for two years.
Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA)
HOSA is an international student organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Health Science Education (HSE) Division of ACTE. HOSA provides a unique program of leadership development, motivation, and recognition exclusively for secondary, postsecondary, adult, and collegiate students enrolled in health science education and biomedical science programs or have interests in pursuing careers in health professions.
The Med School at Manual Testimonials
“As a proud Thunderbolt graduate, I’m thrilled to see Manual High School offer such a rigorous track for its students. The Med School graduates will be better prepared for life after high school and will undoubtedly bring young, eager talent into the workforce here in Denver and across the country as well.” ~ Denver Mayor Michael Hancock
“The Med School at Manual High School is the only program of its kind within the Denver Public Schools system and aims to increase the amount of Denver students, second language learners, special needs students and students from all backgrounds to compete for careers that come with the opportunity for higher earning potential, while ultimately changing familial statuses in traditionally underserved areas of Denver.” ~ Nick Dawkins, MHS Principal
“The program is ideal for those gifted in speaking other languages and positioned as a generational change agent to help build a better community. Students from diverse ethnic, socio-economic and geographic backgrounds will receive high quality instruction and exposure to careers in medicine, where they can go on to serve their community in a unique and personal way.” ~ Elina Martinez, MHS Assistant Principal and CTE Director The Med School
“The Med School program at Manual has changed my life because now I have the training, discipline and support I need to become the professional I want to be. The one-on-one instruction, small classrooms and hands on experience with medical professionals makes me feel like a doctor already and that gives me the confidence I need to be successful when I graduate.” ~ Dane’Ha, The Med School program student