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Gaining Confidence and Skills Through Healthcare Training

Three young women from FACES wearing FACES staff shirts

Darna is a High School student from the Philippines who came to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2017. She was concerned about learning English, adapting to a new culture and making friends as she learned to navigate the social dynamics of a new school. 

Taking on an internship where she would work in one of San Francisco’s busiest hospitals might seem to be an impossible additional burden for such a student, but the opposite proved to be true for Darna, who joined PHI’s FACES for the Future health care internship and leadership development program. The program supports young people’s entry into healthcare professions through internships, workshops, academic support, college preparation and wellness support.

Far from being a burden, Darna’s work with FACES helped her learn to adapt and thrive in her new environment. Through the program, Darna got academic assistance, received health and wellness support, and met incredible doctors and health care professionals who became vital mentors as she dramatically improved her English skills, fostered friendships with her peers, and improved her grades. 

Through her time at Zuckerberg San Francisco General hospital, where more than three-quarters of patients are uninsured or covered by Medi-Cal and 75% of patients are people of color and/or from immigrant families, Darna gained confidence in her abilities and grew inspired to pursue a healthcare career. Through the program she was able to observe medical interventions, including a C-section and brain surgery. In her final journal entry for the program she wrote,

“FACES gives you different ideas on what you want to do in the health field. It helped me realize that I want to become a surgical nurse, but I also feel really passionate about women’s health and women’s rights to receive health care. I feel like I matured throughout the time I participated in internships. I’m going to be an activist and a nurse so I can help people who can’t help themselves.”

Darna is just one of hundreds of students who have flourished in the FACES program. Working with the San Francisco Department of Public Health and 68 sites across the Bay Area, FACES provides internships for students in clinical health, mental health, and public health – and is the only organization partnering with the city in allowing minor students to work in such clinical settings. FACES also partners with the San Francisco Department of Children, Youth and Families and the Bayview YMCA, hosts a program in San Diego with Rady Children’s Hospital and other area groups, and has other school-year internship programs in California, Colorado and New Mexico.

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