With the COVID-19 outbreak and summer now in swing, many local students have been spending time at home, but a senior at Alliance Academy for Innovation wants to use that time to get younger students excited about careers in health care.
Ishita Gaikwad, who has plans to become a pediatrician, said the online program, which started on Friday and has classes on Tuesdays and some Fridays through then end of July, would give students in grades 3-8 a look at the basics of health care and possible careers.
“Healthcare at Home was founded in order to take advantage of this time that we have in which children are spending many of their days in their homes,” she said, “and we wanted to take that time to inspire and interest them in discovering their goals, especially tied to the healthcare field because this pandemic has made us realize really how important these people are.”
Some of the upcoming classes, which are held from 3-4 p.m., include anatomy of the heart, intro to health care professions and health care IT.
The group has already held a preliminary meeting where students wrote letters to health care professionals who have been dealing with the pandemic.
“Really, we just conduct activities related to basic health care topics,” Gaikwad said. “We talk about topics and have activities such as making letters, designing them for health care workers and actually sending them, talking about performing CPR, introducing different health care professions and kind of describing the world of health information, technology and more.”
While Gaikwad said she wanted to see more local students get involved, there have already been students from 50 families across the U.S. and 20 from across the globe, including some in the United Arab Emirates, Singapore and Turkey.
The group has also attracted 130 high school and college volunteers, including some at the regional level for the international students.
“It’s really open to any kids asking questions, but really just looking to get them excited about being in health care, making them think, ‘Wow, I want to be in health care someday because of this,” Gaikwad said.
Though starting during the COVID pandemic, Gaikwad said she hopes to see the meetings become an annual thing but said the outbreak has more people interested.
“There is more involvement now because of COVID,” she said. “I mean, combined with summer, most of these kids are trapped in their own homes, maybe they’re a little bored, things like that. I thought why not use this time to inspire them to think of something bigger.”