Bassett High senior Huong Nguyen was awarded a $1,000 scholarship during Kaiser Permanente Health Academy’s Recognition Ceremony – an achievement she credits to the support of Linda Howard, the program’s 15-year coordinator.
Nguyen was one of more than 30 students recognized for their completion of the program before the end of the school year. During the ceremony and 15-year anniversary of the Health Academy, administrators and educators from Bassett Unified and Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Park Medical Center honored Howard for her upcoming retirement.
“I want to thank Ms. Howard for helping me come out of my shell,” said Nguyen, who will pursue a career as a pharmacist. “I learned everything from her. She showed me my passion for the medical field and helping others.”
In 2003, Howard helped create the Health Academy, a highly competitive pathway program that introduces students to the medical industry by offering them the opportunity to earn health certificates and scholarships.
“I am very proud of my students and all of their accomplishments,” Howard said. “To see my students helping others means a lot to me because that’s why I go into this business. I am proud of my legacy here and I know it will continue.”
Students receive hands-on experience giving injections, removing stitches and performing ultrasounds during the three-year academy. Participants rotate positions within the hospital departments, including emergency, obstetrics and pediatrics.
“Originally, I didn’t know what I wanted to do for a career,” Bassett High senior Diane Orozco said. “But coming in to the Health Academy and learning biosciences and the necessary skills to go into the medical field really opened my eyes and helped me decide that I want to be in healthcare and help others.”
Orozco, who wants to become a registered nurse, sharpened her healthcare leadership skills through the after-school program Health Occupation Students of America (HOSA). Through the program, she interned at Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Park for eight weeks, an opportunity exclusive to Bassett High students.
“Congratulations to the Health Academy’s Class of 2018 for all of their hard work and dedication,” Bassett Unified Superintendent Debra French said. “Thank you to the teachers and administrators from Kaiser Permanente, La Puente Valley ROP and Bassett High School for helping this program prosper and for grooming future leaders in healthcare.”