Western University of Health Sciences invited 20 students from Sherman Indian High School to campus to spark their interest in the health professions.

The students visited the College of Pharmacy Professional Development Laboratory and various classrooms on Nov. 9, 2011. In addition, they toured Banfield, The Pet Hospital and observed a dog undergoing a surgery.

Jesse Martinez, PharmD, Vice Dean of the College of Pharmacy, organized the visit and tour and presented a lecture on his humanitarian trip to help the survivors of the tsunami in Sri Lanka.

Sherman Indian High School is a boarding high school for Native American students from approximately 70 tribes from around the country. The school originally opened in 1892 in Perris, California, and moved to Riverside in 1903.

The health professions are among the more marketable forms of employment for graduating students, and the goal is for these students to become interested in the health professions and maybe one day return to their tribes as health professionals, he said.

“In order to do that, we have to get them interested in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM),” Martinez said. “We invited them to our campus in the spirit of exposing students to STEM programs, which will ultimately lead them to a professional program like ours at WesternU.”

Sherman Indian High School became part of the American Indian Health Career Ladder in September 2011, an addition to the Pomona Health Career Ladder program started four years ago at WesternU. The purpose of the program is to encourage students to study science-related courses and enable them to continue on to college, to a health sciences university such as WesternU, and to eventually become a health care professional.

“The purpose of the campus visit is to expose these students to opportunities so that they may thrive and get an advanced education for a bright future,” Martinez said. “This relationship is going to be fostered, promoted and enhanced so the Sherman student body will get the opportunity to come to our campus and witness education in the health professions.”

Sherman Indian High School is an off-reservation, co-educational boarding high school for Native Americans, operated by the Bureau of Indian Education/Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), and is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. The curriculum includes both college prep and vocational programs, and has a grade 9-12 student enrollment of approximately 600 composed of Native American students from across the United States.

“Our students need regular and consistent contact and interaction with good adult role models,” said Roland “Tripp” Doepner, principal of SIHS. “The students, staff, and faculty at WesternU are just those kind of good adults.”

Click here for more information about the Pomona Health Career Ladder.