Meet Alejandro Dethlefsen. Alejandro 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.

“It’s really different how humble it makes you, and more human because you were actually there instead of reading about it. You get a personal experience.

MetWest is a special kind of high school because on Tuesdays and Thursdays we have an internship of our choice. I was interested in HEAL because I like helping people and I think that I can find a high-paying job in medicine.

This is my second year in the program. I experienced many things that most juniors can’t say they have seen. My first year, I went to the emergency room and I saw complicated procedures. I saw a man die from a gunshot wound, a life being born from a C-section in labor and delivery, and I assisted in a procedure by handing tools. How many juniors can say that?

Last summer, I was in a program designed for men of color in underserved communities, through UCSF. Over 90 people applied; 20 got in, including me. Every day, I got on BART to San Francisco and was at the job from 8:30 to 5:30. It gave me a new experience to have a job in another city, and that I got paid for it too. Because of my many internships, doors have opened. I already have four acceptances to college.

I have a newfound respect for human life. It is very precious and makes me want to value the time I have even more. Getting out there and learning is the real stuff I love.” ~ Alejandro

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 Alejandro and other HealthPATH students visit the Oakland Youth Story Bank Website.