Preparing Youth for Healthcare Careers


PHI’s FACES for the Future Coalition provides health care career training to high school students from low-income communities of color, building a long-term path to remedy the lack of diversity in health care professions and address health disparities in these communities.

667 FACES students in 2019-20 N. California program

99% of FACES interns graduate high school on time

90% go directly to college, certification programs or jobs

65% are first in their family to enroll in college

In many communities that face historic and ongoing racism and associated poverty and violence, there are often few or no educational or career training opportunities around healthcare for young people. Meanwhile, the lack of diversity among healthcare professionals directly contributes to worsening health disparities in communities of color.

PHI’s FACES for the Future Coalition is addressing these dual problems. The FACES internship program for high school youth primarily from low-income communities of color provides health career training where students work alongside health professionals in major hospitals, clinics, and other health organizations. Students average more than fifty hours of internship experiences, and most students have the opportunity to work in 6-8 different health care settings before graduating. The program also provides academic support, leadership training, and wellness education and resources. 

The stories from the young people of FACES are moving tributes to the program’s successes. In other measures of success, of the 667 students from who completed the FACES Northern California programs in 2019-2020:

  • 99% graduated High School on time (even though 61% were not on track to graduate when they began the FACES program, and in many of the students’ communities graduation rates are as low as 40%).
  • 100% reported an increased understanding of their healthcare career options, 87% said they increased their understanding of the steps required to achieve their career goals, and 78% said their motivation to pursue a healthcare career increased.
  • 65% became the first in their family to enroll in college and 90% of FACES graduates continue directly into college or other post-secondary pathways (certification programs or employment). 

The 2020 FACES interns faced new challenges with the Covid-19 pandemic. As schools moved to distance learning, FACES immediately got to work designing online workshops for students, including a three-part series on Covid-19. Through each workshop, students engaged in interactive learning and discussions about Covid, epidemiology, public health, and the pandemic’s impacts in their communities and nationwide. Students also completed lesson assessments after each workshop and had opportunities to connect with their program coordinators and peers about the immediate personal impact of the pandemic on their families. In San Francisco, more than 100 FACES students attended a virtual career panel with medical residents from the University of California San Francisco, an interactive session using real-life medical case scenarios, and a COVID-19 Q&A.

Watch the video below to learn more about the FACES program.

FACES for the Future 20th Anniversary Celebration

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