PORT CHESTER, N.Y. -- Port Chester High School students learned how to use stethoscopes and other medical equipment Tuesday, July 8, to kick off the annual Future Health Leaders program at Open Door Family Medical Centers.
For the past seven years, 20-25 Port Chester High Schools students interested in health care professions have participated in the program, which starts with a four-week intensive and continues into the following school year.
“It’s really all different kinds of careers that we’re introducing them to, and this early exposure gets them motivated to want to do well in school and go after a goal,” said Ellette Hirschorn, director of clinical services and programs at Open Door Medical Centers.
A survey of participating students during the last five years showed 55 percent of respondents – 64 percent of the total – went into health care professions.
“This is a huge program,” she said.
The four-week summer intensive began Monday, July 7. On Tuesday, students got their own stethoscopes and tried them out by taking each other’s blood pressure and learning how to identify body sounds using a special demonstration mannequin.
Sofia Huyha, 16, said she learned a lot Tuesday and is looking forward to the coming year.
“I was really interested in the nursing, so I found this program in the school and I decided to try it out, and I’m liking it,” she said.
Students also learned how to use spirometers to screen for asthma and an EKG machine to look at a patient’s heart rate and rhythm. They were led by medical supplier Henry Schein, Midmark and Med Care Associates.
"Hopefully for kids that don't have an idea of what they want to do in the future, this helps give them an idea of what they want to do," Bruce Salvani, of Henry Schein, said.
The first week’s theme is medical equipment. Nutrition is next week’s theme, and students may be going to the supermarket to learn how to read food labels, Hirschorn said.
“They get to teach their families, so it’s really all about becoming a healthier Port Chester because they’re in turn keying that into their community after this,” she said.