Two Cardinal Gibbons High School Students Scrub in at Holy Cross Health for new Summer Surgical Scholars program
Kristin Hanke

University of Miami and Holy Cross Health join forces for new Summer Surgical Scholars program

While some teenagers used summer break to play video games or float around their pool, a very studious group of aspiring doctors enrolled in the University of Miami / Holy Cross Health Summer Surgical Scholars (S³) Program, a new immersive program for high school students interested in medicine and surgery. A member of Trinity Health, Holy Cross Health, is a full-service, non-profit, Catholic, teaching hospital operating in the spirit of the Sisters of Mercy. 
“As an associate professor of surgery, I typically interact with students who are in their 20s and older,” said Handel Robinson, M.D., associate professor of surgery/University of Miami at Holy Cross surgical residency director. “I was very impressed by the maturity of these teenagers. Witnessing their intelligence and ability to learn complex medical terminology and procedures gives me so much hope and promise for the future of medicine. I hope their interest in becoming a doctor continues as they select college majors and career paths. Future patients would be lucky to have them as their physicians one day.” 
Over the course of four days, participants shadowed general surgery residents and attending physicians in the operating room, clinic and emergency room, attended academic lectures and participated in additional hands-on experiences. Five students from Broward, St. Lucie and Orange counties participated: Jack Perez and Vincent Perez from Cardinal Gibbons High School in Fort Lauderdale; Jazmine Villa from St. Lucie West Centennial High School in Port St. Lucie; Christina Richards from Pompano Beach High School; and Javier Otero from Lake Nona High School in Orlando. 
“The S³ Program provides high school students a truly unique opportunity to develop early medical interests and gain insight into surgical specialties,” said Nathan Schoen, M.D., M.P.H., cofounder of S³ and chief surgery resident of University of Miami at Holy Cross. “Through my own struggle finding meaningful shadowing and mentorship as a young student, I knew there was a need for an established, immersive shadowing program in surgery. With the assistance of my own mentors and coresidents, we gladly volunteered our time to teach these impressive high school students. We aimed to pique their interest in medicine and serve as role models who can help guide their future careers, possibly even at Holy Cross for their own residencies.” 
The exclusive program, in its inaugural year, was available to students ages 16 and older who are relatives of Holy Cross Health employees. Participation was free of charge thanks to the generosity of the general surgery residents and attending physicians who volunteered their time to teach and mentor the next generation of surgeons. 
“Fostering interest and motivation in medicine with the next generation of healthcare providers is vital to the future of the industry,” said Dr. Michael Perez, chief of surgery and S³ cofounder. “For these potential future physicians and healthcare professionals, completion of the University of Miami / Holy Cross Health Summer Surgical Scholars Program not only provides insight and direction to these students, but is also a well-deserved, impressive addition to their resumes and college applications.”