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The third annual Santa Clara Valley Wellness Foundation SHIP (Summer Health Internship Program) gave six area teenagers the opportunity to experience a wide variety of possible health care careers through the Ventura County Health Care Agency (VCHCA). Left to right are: Cesar Medrano, Jessica Castaneda, Francisco Erazo, Marcia Edwards (wife of Dr. Sam Edwards) , Marisol Tellez, Ytzel Ayala, Kendra Magana

Six students disembark SHIP program with healthcare future

August 06, 2014
Santa Paula News

Six Santa Clara River Valley high school students were celebrated when they disembarked from a special internship voyage into future heath care careers.

Lauded for their efforts were Jessica Castaneda, 17, Cesar Medrano, 17 and Marisol Tellez, 16, of Santa Paula as well as Fillmore residents Ytzel Ayala, 16, Francisco Erazo, 16, and Kendra Magana, 18.

The third annual Santa Clara Valley Wellness Foundation SHIP (Summer Health Internship Program) gave six area teenagers the opportunity to experience a wide variety of possible health care careers through the Ventura County Health Care Agency (VCHCA).

The program held its recent graduation at the Santa Paula Art Museum.  

Named in honor of the late noted physician/hospital administrator Dr. Sam Edwards of Santa Paula, his “first mate” Marcia Edwards and son Harold Edwards were on hand for the ceremony. Other special guests included Ventura County CEO Michael Powers and Santa Paula City Councilman Martin Hernandez, among others.

“We’re very happy to be graduating another class this year,” said SCVWF Board Director Phil Snow, a retired DDS. “SHIP really is a great program... “

Bea Frias, VCMC chief nursing officer and SCVWF director, said the foundation “Is committed to the wellness of the community,” it serves.

But it does at times need support: “When we first envisioned SHIP in 2011,” Frias said it took many long discussions to determine what would benefit both youth and the medical community... and how VCHCA would be involved.

The county health care agency offered strong support and Frias said the program was named after the affectionately nicknamed “Dr. Sam,” who for decades was dedicated to community health.

In addition, Dr. Sam was a pivotal figure in the county reopening Santa Paula Hospital after it was closed in 2003 and later purchased by VCHCA.

“He ran a tight SHIP,” noted Frias and appreciated the world of “work and opportunity” the program for students would provide. 

Dr. Sam, 76, who lived and farmed in Santa Paula, passed in January. 

Several former SHIP graduates attended the ceremony to give encouragement to the new SHIP class.

Marisol Tellez, a SPHS senior, said, “SHIP helped me experience and look at what everyone does at the hospital and at the clinics... it really helped me decide to be in the medical field.” 

Communicating with various medical personnel on many levels, “helped me grow my confidence,” said Jessica Castaneda, also a SPHS senior, who said the SHIP experience “really motivated me even more,” to eventually attend UC Davis and study to become a pediatrician. 

After each student offered insight into their experiences Frias said “One thing I hear them say is this program solidified their future goals,” hopefully that will include coming back to their communities to serve local medical needs.

The SHIP experience, said SCVWF Board Chairperson Gloria Camarillo, “Is an experience for everyone, not just students,” but also their parents and those in the medical field they worked with.

SHIP graduate Francisco Erazo’s mother Jessie - whose daughter Citali participated in the program last year - agreed, noting, “He loved working in the ICU... he’s on that SHIP,” and the family will “make sure he stays on that SHIP.”

But that SHIP must be maintained said SCVWF Executive Director Mary Deines.

SHIP allows the students the chance to not only explore medical field career options, but also to earn pocket money during the internship.

The foundation pays the salaries of those students involved in the program and Deines said donations to the SCVWF for SHIP and other SCVWF programs are always welcomed.

Each student went through a complete hiring process and had to pass muster with a three-person interview board. Students work full-time, five days a week for eight hours rotating between county hospitals and clinics during the five-week program.

The Workforce Investment Board of Ventura County recently honored SHIP with the Youth Opportunity award as a program that will strengthen the area’s workforce.





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