Western University of Health Sciences virtually welcomed 53 parents and students to the 9th Pomona Health Career Ladder (PHCL) Summer Program July 27-31, 2020.

WesternU’s Office of Mission Integration – Center for Academic Community Engagement (ACE) provided summer educational events designed to foster a new generation of health care leaders.

Although the curriculum was virtual on Zoom, students received a “goodie bag” to facilitate hands-on learning throughout the week. The curriculum incorporated science classes for students, parent resource workshops, yoga and nutrition. An interactive workbook, “Coronavirus Confidential,” was authored by WesternU faculty and distributed free of charge to all of the students. Dr. Camille Ramos-Beal, director for the Pomona Health Career Ladder and principal of Palomares Health Sciences Academy in the Pomona Unified School District (PUSD), took the lead in pulling together the summer program, supported by the efforts of Maria Moreno, Helen Musharbash and Alejandra Cervantes of ACE.

Middle schoolers learn about the importance of face masks and have an opportunity to create their masks with materials provided in their “goodie bags.”

The middle and high school student curriculum was designed and coordinated by WesternU Associate Provost and Associate Vice President for Academic Community Engagement Elizabeth Rega, PhD, and Pipeline to Health Careers Officers and College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific students Joshua Chan and Olga Fritz-Bourbon, alongside two undergraduate students, Anthony Chavarria (UCR) and Brittney Obanor (USC), who were Resident Peer Advisors for the four-week WesternU-Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP).

The Family Resources curriculum was presented by Sylvia Rodriguez from Tri-City Mental Health (Pomona) and Carla Quintero and Luis Guerrero from PUSD. Haley Star Atkinson returned for the second year in a row to teach yoga to parents.

“Overall, the summer program was a great success,” Rega said. “The effort by WesternU and its students on behalf of the Pomona community continues to make a difference.”

WesternU Health Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Melanie Barbee, MS, RDN, CDE, highlights nutritional value and serving portions to participating parents.