Meet Isha Clarke. Isha attends MetWest High School in Oakland and is a student in Alameda Health System’s (AHS) HealthPATH program. HealthPATH is a workforce development initiative of AHS that prepares youth and young adults for healthcare careers.

“What is more extreme and raw and crazy than working in a hospital? Nothing gets filtered.

The drama of gunshot wounds. Seeing the social and racial economics of Highland, and how that plays into medicine. It is so much more than just medicine. You have a huge impact on people’s lives when you’re serving a population that’s constantly swept under the rug and that has a lot of trust issues.

My dad has had numerous health issues and he does not trust medical professionals at all. The whole process is very uncomfortable for him, and I’m sure that it has something to do with him being a black man when a lot of the care is from white men and women. I think that being able to look like the people you are serving and being able to relate can greatly benefit you.

I still have faith in medicine, and I say that because we have to have medicine and keep improving it.

My high school, MetWest, is internship-based. I have taken part in HEAL, MIMS, and currently Healthy Ambassadors. Through these programs I realize I have motivation to change the face of medicine, literally. It has helped me develop a clear vision of what I want for myself and in my future career.

Maybe I will be an orthopedic surgeon and the only black woman in the room.” ~Isha

Through internships and other work‐based learning experiences at AHS’s network of hospitals and wellness centers, HealthPATH exposes young people to career opportunities in the healthcare field while promoting academic excellence and teaching skills for life success. HealthPATH’s ultimate goal is to cultivate a pipeline of diverse and culturally competent healthcare workers who will become the future workforce of AHS.

To learn more about Isha and other HealthPATH students visit the Oakland Youth Story Bank Website.