A migrant student from La Joya ISD wears a mask and gloves and leans over his patient, carefully stitching together her open wound. When she finished, the neat row of sutures could be mistaken for the work of a professional, but this is the first time performing surgery. Of course, this student is closing this wound on a skin model while participating in the College 1stHealth Professions CAMP.

The Health Professions CAMP is designed to introduce students to a wide array of medical careers through interactive, project-based learning in an industry long known to be expanding. In 2015, La Joya ISD opened their Academy of Health Science Professions. Becoming one of the few school districts in the Region to offer their students a head start in preparing for their future healthcare career. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare has become the largest source of jobs in the United States. The healthcare industry has long been one of the fastest growing in the US, driven in large part by the aging of the American population. We can see this growth here in the Rio Grande Valley where the demand for healthcare professionals has been increasing considerably.

Richard Reynoso, a La Joya ISD Migrant student, claimed that his favorite activity was the “suturing lab because it inspired [him] to go to college and become a doctor.”

La Joya ISD Migrant Education Department wants to expose students to different career opportunities and emerging technologies that have made waves in the medical field. Economic trends toward increasing automation suggests that the best prepared professionals of tomorrow will know how to interact with technology and harness its advantages.

I felt like this CAMP opened my eyes to the possible careers that I could pursue to be successful in life and one day make my parents proud”,said La Joya ISD Migrant student, Samuel Perez.

During the Health Professions CAMP, not only do students use virtual reality glasses to explore the circulatory system but also take part in similar training that medical professionals are exposed to. They use human skin models and suturing kits to perform surgery and get to experience what it’s like to be a nurse during a vitals rotation. Moreover, the students are mentored by the College 1stinstructors and medical students to think of the broader effects of technology on medical professions and society by-and-large.

“It inspired me to go to college and be successful in life”, said La Joya ISD Migrant student, Alexandra Salinas. “I want to make my parents proud by showing them that I can finish College”, Salinas concluded.

As students review the human anatomy and explore different career options they can pursue in the medical filed, the implementation of hands-on activities provides them with practical skills that medical professionals often aren’t exposed to until college. From removing cavities from teeth models to suturing simulated wounds, students get a head start on skills they need to become the much-needed dentists, nurses, and doctors of tomorrow.

For more information about La Joya ISD Migrant Education Program, please visit our website at http://www.lajoyaisd.com/departments/curriculum-instruction/migrant/

or call us at 956-323-2560. You can also contact the College 1stProgram at www.college1st.org.


Written by Roberto Diaz & Kimberly Chacon (College 1st Program)