The Helping Hands of HOSA
February 17, 2021
HOSA isn’t just a club for students to join, but a powerful instructional tool to promote the health care industry to students. This year Vandegrift HOSA has 160 active members and is determined to achieve the same goals as last year and more even during a global pandemic.
HOSA Area One Competition
HOSA had their first Area One competition on Jan. 4 and was split up into different categories. Because this was the first time a competition has been virtual a lot of confusion arose.
“This year everyone’s just kind of confused about how everything works,” HOSA president Anish Pandya said. “You can take the test from home, so there’s a lot of uncertainty of how it’s regulated. I think that everyone who did compete, they know how the test looks and they’re going to do a lot better next season.”
In Area One, 28 students registered to compete in 13 different categories, some being Medical Math, Dental Science, Pathophysiology, etc. Results from the first competition will be released Feb. 10.
“Competition signs up are in the fall,” secretary Aidan Tran said. “We prepared our members by giving them all the links to the materials that they’ll need. They basically study up until they take their tests for their competition.”
HOSA’s Speaker Series
HOSA hosts a speaker series every year that allows any student to participate and experience the different medical professions when listening to the speakers. This year HOSA has adapted to virtual meetings, by focusing on keeping the students engaged and making every meeting more interesting than the last.
“I think they’re all very different,” Pandya said. “For example, the first speaker was from Operation Smile and was an Anesthesiologist who worked on cleft palate surgeries in different countries. Then for the Pediatric Psychiatrists, he was talking about his personal experience in medical school, as opposed to a lot of treatment things that the anesthesiologist was talking about.”
The students were able to relate to the psychiatrist, Dr. Mike Ross, when he explained his struggles after high school when not knowing what he wanted to pursue.
“I really liked his talk,” sponsor Karen Pearce said. “From a teacher perspective, with someone saying, ‘hey, I graduated high school, and I didn’t know what I wanted to do.’ I think that’s important for kids to hear and that it was really cool for him to share his past and his path of discovery. “
To keep everything organized, HOSA has assigned the members to five different houses named after scientists, Curie, Franklin, Blackwell, Elliot and Barton. They use these houses to expose everyone to medical history while also feeling more enjoyable. To keep it entertaining, they use point systems by having questions of the week and monthly challenges. The house that earns the most cumulative points will get a prize at the end of the year.
“One of them is the question of the week,” treasurer Hillary Xu said. “We have a science or medical based question every week, and if they answer it correctly they get points. You can also earn points through our monthly house challenges, for example, writing letters to healthcare workers.”
Students are placed into houses randomly and each house has around 33-35 members. The houses have two student leaders who keep their house members in check.
“They’re like the managers,” Xu said. “They honestly keep the club running. They manage the members, make sure that everyone’s participating, they communicate with each other. We couldn’t do it without them.”
Upcoming HOSA Events
HOSA is doing an outreach program at Four Points and Canyon Ridge, mentoring kids and talking about their organization and what they have to offer.
“We are looking to expand and grow,“ Pandya said. “Our plan is to spread medical science, mentor middle schoolers on what kinds of courses and academic options are available to them in high school, etc.”
An upcoming speaker is slated to speak to the group on Feb. 25. She is a breast radiology specialist working at Austin Radiology Association.
“She is going to speak about her experience in the field of radiology; she has recently written a blog post about mammography during COVID-19, which can be found on her blog so she may talk about the subject during her time,” Pandya said.