BALDWIN PARK – Thirty-two Baldwin Park Unified middle school students are getting a jumpstart on their dreams of working in the medical industry by shadowing physicians, assisting medical students with sheep dissection and practicing CPR through a partnership with Kaiser Permanente.

The Olive and Holland middle school seventh- and eighth-graders are being mentored throughout spring semester by local medical professionals in Kaiser Permanente’s Hippocrates Circle, which seeks to expand opportunities for youths in underrepresented communities and encourage students to pursue higher education and medical studies.

“It is a great outreach program that shows students that anyone can become a doctor,” Holland Principal Mike Rust said. “The program teaches students that if they work hard and commit to their efforts toward their goals, a medical career can be achieved.

Students attend five key events as part of the program.

Physicians from the Southern California Permanente Medical Group and Kaiser Permanente kicked off the program with a presentation for participants and their parents on the challenges of working in the medical field, sharing personal stories of trials and triumphs.

Kaiser Permanente provided a student success manual to strengthen participants’ self-esteem and empower them to pursue medical careers.

Students then toured a Kaiser Permanente medical center, shadowing doctors to obtain a behind-the-scene look at being a physician. This was followed by a financial aid seminar for participants and their parents, to bring awareness and provide tools for the monetary struggles of attending a university.

“We get to see what we have to do to become a doctor, and we’re given a pathway to make it happen,” said JulieAnna Strong, a seventh-grader at Holland.

Next, students gained hands-on experience through a medical fair in April at a Glendale convention center, where they assisted medical school representatives in dissecting sheep hearts, practiced CPR on training manikins and observed the effects of hand sanitizer on bacteria, using an ultra violet light.

The Hippocrates Circle concludes in May with a graduation ceremony for students and their families at the Baldwin Park Marriott. Participants will receive a certificate of completion and will take an oath to continue pursuing a medical career.

Kaiser Permanente founded the program in 2000 and has worked with Baldwin Park Unified middle and junior high schools for 10 years.

Students were notified about the Hippocrates Circle in science class. Those with a passion for the subject completed an online application, which included a short essay on why they wanted to be physicians.

Joel Jirananda, eighth-grade science teacher at Olive, offered an application workshop to assist students in completing the detailed forms.

Baldwin Park Unified’s Jones and Sierra Vista junior high schools participated during the 2016 fall semester; they rotate annually with Olive and Holland for either the fall or spring term.

Since the Hippocrates Circle started, more than 4,000 students across Southern California have graduated from the program.

“The Hippocrates Circle creates a terrific opportunity for students to interact with professionals in the industry, and we are honored to participate in a program that empowers our students to set education and career goals,” Superintendent Froilan N. Mendoza said.

For more information on the Hippocrates program, visit


BPUSD_Hippocrates_1: Olive and Holland middle school students work with medical professionals on taking heart rate and blood pressure vitals as part the semester-long Hippocrates Program.

BPUSD_Hippocrates_2: Seventh- and eighth-grade students are taught to recognize vital signs at a medical fair hosted by the Hippocrates Circle, a program created by Kaiser Permanente in 2000.

BPUSD_Hippocrates_3: 32 selected students from Olive and Holland middle schools learned how to perform CPR on training manikins, as part of hands-on experience through the Hippocrates Circle. The program informs and encourage students in pursuing higher education and a career in the medical field.