Kaiser Permanente Youth Health Forum

Jillian Hickey and Jillian Hickey

Rain crashes down as students from all over Marin trickle into Aldersgate Methodist Church overlooking the Terra Linda Valley. There are students representing Terra Linda, San Rafael, Marin Oaks, Novato, Drake, Shoreline and Redwood quietly squeezing into the many seats crowded in a U shape facing a projector. Schedules are passed out and the speakers range from the director of general surgery at Kaiser to an optometrist also working with the NFL, NBA, and MBA on concussions.

The Kaiser Youth Health Forum is annually organized by Kaiser in order for students to learn more about medicine even if they are not interested in pursuing it as a career. This year it was held on October 28th.

All of the speakers currently work at Kaiser and love working there because of the community of amazing people. At the beginning of their thirty minutes, each speaker would introduce themselves and talk about what they do as well as how they got to that point. Most of the speakers had gone to medical school thinking they were going to have one career path within the medical field and ended up in another. Some had stories of reasons why they pursued the specific career that they did: a certain teacher or coworker in the hospital, a patient that touched them, a life experience, or a loved one.

One of the most impressive speakers was Dallas Griner, the head Emergency Room Registered Nurse. He had previously been in the military, a firefighter, a police officer, an ER tech, and now a registered nurse. He talked about the stress of working in the Emergency Room in a hospital in L.A. near Compton. Some of his time was comprised of sharing his experience with the aftermath of gang violence in the ER.
Other interesting speakers were the trio of ladies from the labs at Kaiser. They showed us how to draw blood, fake blood out of a fake arm of course, but still it was very interesting. Their presentation was about the ways they use blood to determine different things about a patient.

Everything there was fun and well planned. Although the day seemed long, the food was great and everyone was extremely nice. Next year come check it out. Even if you are not interested in the medical field as a career path it is really cool to learn about these amazing people who save lives every day.