February 8, 2023
UF Health Jax YEAH
UF Health Jacksonville's Youth Education for Advancing in Health (YEAH) program targets 25 students a year from the Darnell-Cookman School of the Medical Arts.

Photo: UF Health

UF Health Jax YEAH
Ann-Marie Knight is the vice president and chief diversity officer of UF Health Jacksonville's community engagement.

Photo: UF Health

Economic Backbone: Hospitals

UF's YEAH high school partnership program helps foster young talent in health careers

UF Health Jacksonville forges relationships with high schoolers in hopes of creating future employees

Vanessa Caceres | 12/7/2022

UF Health Jacksonville is reaching out to prospective employees as early as high school. Since last year, the hospital has formed a partnership with Darnell-Cookman School of the Medical Arts, a nearby magnet school, to select 25 students each year for its YEAH program — Youth Education for Advancing in Health.

Participants apply for the program and then visit UF Health Jacksonville about five times during a school year and are exposed to various health careers, says Ann-Marie Knight, vice president of community engagement and chief diversity officer.

Students get to watch surgery, see how proton therapy for cancer works, talk to pharmacists or learn about other medical fields, Knight says.

Students get exposed to health careers beyond clinical positions, and the hospital may foster young talent that could eventually look for a hospital job or a volunteer position, Knight says.

The YEAH program currently has 50 students and will eventually reach 100. As each cohort of 25 students advances, it gains more knowledge about health and hospital operations.

UF Health Jacksonville also has begun to host a yearlong fellowship program for students earning a master’s degree in health administration.

Although completing a fellowship isn’t necessary to earn a master’s of health administration, students who do so may gain an edge on making connections and finding a job, Knight says.

Two current fellowship slots are filled by students from the University of Florida and the University of South Carolina. The hospital has received more than 35 applications for next year’s fellowship slots.

The job outlook for medical and health services managers is expected to grow 28% through 2031, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The health care administration fellows are paid a salary, work with hospital leaders and are overseen by a senior executive, Knight says. They also get involved with projects, such as helping to plan upgrades to the hospital’s Level 1 trauma center, funded with $80 million from the state earlier this year. 

Tags: Healthcare, Feature

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