The Ridgewood Academy of Health Professions, or RAHP, is one of the three programs offered to incoming sophomores. Midway through the year, freshmen are offered the option to apply to either RAHP, AHLISA, or AMSTUD (or a combination of the three). RAHP is an academy I am honored to be a part of. This academy continuously exposes me to the healthcare field and provides hands on experience at Valley Hospital as well as other facilities.
During sophomore year, I took part in explorations at the Valley Hospital where I learned about the different career paths involved in the medical field. I was able to learn that not only are there professions for those who love one-on-one interaction with patients, but there are also careers for those who prefer a something along the lines of marketing or even law. This opened my eyes to the possibilities encompassed within the medical field and how there are abundant opportunities other than becoming a doctor. These experiences exposed me to all the different options I could pursue, which, in turn, helped me decide which aspects of the healthcare field I could see myself in and which professions were not for me. Such excursions to the Valley Hospital are unique experiences because they allow students to get out into the field and observe firsthand what medical professionals do in their day-to-day lives.
As a junior RAHP student, I was able to decide which areas of the hospital I wanted to intern in. These internships are done with smaller groups instead of the entire RAHP class and allows us to take a deeper dive into specific professions. In addition to the regular hospital group, there is a veterinary branch and dentistry branch to the RAHP program. These factions are able to work in a specialized setting where they focus on only their field of interest, which comes with its own benefits. In fact, one student in the veterinary program was recently able to observe a surgery performed on a dog, an experience many people in high school do not have the opportunity to have.
Next year, as seniors, RAHP students will initiate their capstone projects in which they will partner with a mentor from the hospital and work with them on a research project. This will allow the students to spend even more time immersed in the medical field and expand their knowledge on topics that may become imminently relevant in their future career path.
The RAHP program has many benefits for a high school student trying to decide the perfect career and can help create long lasting connections with the hospital and affiliated centers. Not only are the students exposed to opportunities related to the hospital, they are also able to apply for the opportunity to be inducted into the National Technical Honors Society, a society that recognizes student achievement in career and technical education. All in all, the entire program as a whole is one that exceeds in opportunities for students and has effects that will last a lifetime.
Graphic: Erin Kim