The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


December 2, 2011

Mentoring in Medicine

Valuable health-care programs pay dividends

— We applaud health-care professionals at Conemaugh Health System who fit into their busy schedules time to oversee the invaluable Mentoring in Medicine program.

Now in its ninth year, the 10-week offering gives students an opportunity to shadow physicians at Memorial Medical Center in departments such as radiology, obstetrics, orthopedics and ER/trauma. Participants are provided a comprehensive hands-on, realistic look at a career in the medical field.

“About 75 percent of those students have gone on to medical school,” said Dr. Richard Schroeder, an orthopedic surgeon and the director of the program he started.

That percentage is impressive, as is the overall scope of the program.

Area young people eyeing a career in medicine should consider signing on.

Just last month, we reported about 15 Conemaugh Valley High School students in the school’s advanced biology class and gifted program traveling to Pittsburgh’s Allegheny General Hospital. There they were given front-row seats to view an open-heart procedure.

 What a great opportunity.

“We want to expose the students to careers in medicine,” said Pat Wolf, coordinator of Allegheny’s open-heart surgery observation program. “You get to see all these different careers that maybe you never thought of, or heard of, before.”

We at this newspaper know the value of making available mentoring and internship programs to hopefully assist young people in mapping their career decisions. Over the years, several people who spent their summers interning here joined The Tribune-Democrat staff after graduating from college.

“Mentoring in Medicine provides an opportunity to cultivate these students, introduce them to the exceptional physicians and technology we have locally and hopefully convince them that this would be a great place to practice medicine,” said Diana Schroeder, coordinator for the Johns-town program. It benefits the students and the community as well, she noted. 

There’s no question the health-care field today offers young people golden career opportunities. Our region has growing needs for physicians, nurses and other health-care providers.

To get an indication about the many opportunities, one only needs to check our classified and display advertising sections.

With a rapidly aging population, our area’s future needs for health-care workers have been well documented. Tremendous employment opportunities await college and diploma school graduates – jobs providing family-sustaining wages and benefits.

Programs such as those offered by the Conemaugh and Allegheny health systems and others can pay huge dividends not only for students and medical facilities, but for the communities in which they are located.

We salute people such as Dr. and Mrs. Schroeder and their peers who recognize this and mentor our young people.

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