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High School Students Spend Their Summer Volunteering at Dignity Health, Learning the Ins-and-Outs of the Medical Field

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CHANDLER, Ariz (July 12, 2018) – Dignity Health Chandler Regional Medical Center and Mercy Gilbert Medical Center launched their Summer Volunteen program for the 12th straight year this June. Since it began in 2006, the volunteer services program has included more than 1,360 teens wanting to learn more about hospitals and health care.

Each year, Dignity Health’s East Valley hospitals, Chandler Regional and Mercy Gilbert Medical Centers, offer a unique summer volunteer experience for a select number of high school students ages 14 to 18. The program’s applicants experience a rigorous screening and interview process that includes writing two essays, providing two letters of recommendation, and maintaining at least a 3.5 GPA. 

“Our qualifications for the program were very competitive,” said Valerie Heninger, supervisor of Volunteer Services at Mercy Gilbert. “This year, out of the 347 teens who applied, only 92 new students were chosen. This summer, including our 98 returning Volunteens, we have a total of 200 students supporting our hospitals.”

The Summer Volunteen program offers an in-depth learning and leadership opportunity for teens interested in the health care industry. Many teens find the experience invaluable and enjoy making a positive impact on patients, staff, and visitors. 

“We are dedicated to offering opportunities for these future leaders to serve,” said Lori Mercer, supervisor of Volunteer Services at Chandler Regional. “We want to encourage them to learn about the variety of careers available in the medical field.” 

This summer, the program will run from June 4 through the end of July. The 200 teens spend their summer gaining hands-on experience in the medical field and spend at least one day a week at the hospital. They have the opportunity to work on research and creative projects, escort patients, perform administrative duties, work alongside staff who mentor them, and more. 

The program is level-based, so the teens with more experience have first pick for available job areas in almost 100 departments. Students also have access to educational sessions throughout the summer such as discussions lead by neurologists from Dignity Health’s Barrow Neurological Institute, hospital ethics, pathology, anesthesia, orthopedics, respiratory therapy, trauma one, and tours through the labs, pharmacies, and Chandler Regional’s Wound Healing Center.

Upon successful completion of the program, the teens receive a certificate, letter of recommendation, and automatic acceptance to the 2019 program.



Publish date: 

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Media Contact

Sara Patterson, External Communications Manager

p: (602) 406-3312

[email protected]