Wilcox Health Introduces Hundreds of Public High School Students to Career Paths in Health Care


Students at a demonstration at the Wilcox Health Career Fair

Wilcox Health welcomed approximately 200 students from Kapaa, Kauai and Waimea high schools to Wilcox Medical Center Friday, Nov. 18, for an introduction into the diverse career field of health care.

The half-day event allotted each public high school two-hour blocks during which students could mingle with health care professionals from Wilcox and Kauai Medical Clinic, and tour a working hospital setting.

“We are proud to sponsor this Health Career Fair for our public high school students,” said Jen Chahanovich, president and CEO of Wilcox Medical Center, and CEO of Kauai Medical Clinic. “Wilcox is a partner and a resource for our Kauai community, and we take that responsibility to heart. By introducing young minds to the many possibilities available in the health care career field, we hope to inspire the next generation of medical professionals and show them there are opportunities for them right here at home.”

More than 20 booths hosted by various departments that make up Wilcox Health lined the medical center lobby. Popular stations featured technicians in full work gear and hands-on demonstrations. For example, students could:

  • Walk through post-operation procedures with perioperative nurses.
  • Test their grip strength with rehabilitation therapy.
  • Disinfect their phones thanks to a UV robot from environmental services.
  • Learn to apply stitches and sutures to a model.

“Health career fairs like this help illustrate that those providing health care are not only nurses and doctors – they’re radiology techs; they’re people in EKG and ultrasound; they’re facilities maintenance and housekeepers. We are all on one team, and we all work together to take care of the patients,” said Darla Sabry, Wilcox’s vice president of patient services and chief nurse executive. “It's important that students know that they don't have to go to other islands or to the mainland to get the education needed to work in our community. There are opportunities available right now, and there will be in the future.”

Health care professionals also led small group tours to designated areas within the Wilcox campus, including the newly renovated Emergency Department, generator facility and Simulation Education Lab, among others.

All students who attended are enrolled in their schools’ health career academies. Instructors said opportunities like the Wilcox Health Career Fair go a long way in inspiring young people to pursue a future in the health care field.

“I think it is absolutely essential for my students to see health professionals in the industry with them here on Kaua‘i, and to have somebody who they can talk to or follow up with right here on island if they have any questions,” said Mahina Anguay, principal of Waimea High School.

Community partners from the Hawaii State Department of Health and Kauai Community College also participated in the event.

The Health Career Fair was funded in part through a partnership with Kamehameha Schools to support health care workforce development on Kauai. Through collaborative events such as the Health Career Fair, Wilcox Health hopes to provide livable-wage jobs for local people, which in turn supports local families’ financial security and health.

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Liz Chun Uyehara