It’s hardly surprising Isabel Hsu has a deep interest in the medical field. Her parents, after all, are both doctors - a cardiologist and pediatrician. “You could say I was born into it,” Isabel, a sophomore, says.
So finding an avenue for other students at Providence Day PD to explore the healthcare industry was natural. She began researching, emailing teachers and watching YouTube videos, and a year ago she founded the HOSA Club, formerly Health Occupations Students of America, at PD.
“It’s a way for students here interested in being a doctor to have resources,” Isabel says. “It’s about more exposure to the outside medical world.”
HOSA is the only national student organization that exclusively serves high school and college students who want a career in health professions. The U.S. Department of Education and Department of Health and Human Services, along with multiple state and federal agencies recognized HOSA as a global student-led organization.
Isabel and fellow HOSA officers and sophomores Kate Schaffer and Skylar Wright are growing Providence Day’s chapter - about 60 students have shown an interest. They held the school’s first HOSA event this week, a pre-med panel that included three Charlotte-area doctors with PD ties.
“Hearing from different doctors who have a variety of careers and went through medical school alleviated some of the stress that you get when you think about pre-med,” Kate says. “You think they drown in the work, but they know how to balance it all.”
The panel included Dr. Kaitlin Laxer Danze, ‘10, and a member of the PD board of alumni, Dr. Larry Skeet, a current PD parent, and Dr. Aashish Jay Kumar, who attended PD’s lower and middle schools.
“It’s cool,” Isabel says, “that they want to come back and share their secrets with their school family.”
Kate is certain she wants a career in the medical field, but she also has a secret: some medical procedures make her a little squeamish. “I’m hoping HOSA helps me explore multiple career paths,” Kate says. “A path that’s, you know, less bloody.”
HOSA’s two-fold mission, according to its website, is to promote career opportunities and enhance the delivery of quality health care - both are what drew Skylar to be a part of the organization. “It’s a good way to start learning about medical classes,” Skylar says. “We’re setting up volunteer activities and setting up committees.”
Skylar adds: “(The panel Tuesday) made a career in the health field a lot more possible and not so far away. During the panel, I thought, ‘I can do this.’”
Dr. Danze, a pediatric dentist who owns a practice in Charlotte, says she loves coming back to Providence Day as an alum, calling it “meaningful and nostalgic.” “Speaking to the students is an honor,” Dr. Danze says. “They are curious and ask such good questions. I see their passion and hunger for knowledge.”
“No real shortcuts”
During the pre-med panel Tuesday, doctors answered students’ questions about time commitment during medical school and how to make the most of internship and volunteer opportunities, among others. “There are no real shortcuts,” Dr. Skeet, an emergency medicine specialist in Gastonia, told students. “Hard work, stick with it and don’t get discouraged.”
Dr. Kumar, a pain management specialist in Charlotte, encouraged students to embrace confidence.
“There’s no limit to what you can achieve if you’re willing to put in the time and effort and hard work,” Dr. Kumar told students. “Give yourself a chance to explore different realms.”
Lucy Drinkwater, the interim director of alumni relations, says the HOSA panel was inspirational for students.
“They too were in the same seats as these students at one point in their life, and I feel that seeing where they are now makes these future goals and dreams seem more attainable,” Drinkwater says.
Students also received a dose of reality.
“My days also have so much variety - sometimes I’m in the clinic, sometimes I’m in the operating room, sometimes I’m doing surgical procedures in my clinic,” Dr. Danze says. “Every day is unique, challenging, and fun in its own way.”
To hear from students and panelists, watch our video on YouTube.