Hill's Educational Leadership in Medicine Institute

St. Joseph Hill Academy High School, in partnership with Staten Island University Hospital/Northwell Health, is proud to announce HELMHill's Educational Leadership in Medicine Institute, which began in Fall 2021. Seeking to be at the helm of healthcare education, preparation and partnership, this Career Institute for Women in Healthcare will provide an opportunity for SJHA students 16 years and older to explore the world of healthcare in real time by becoming immersed in the day-to-day activities of healthcare professionals. 

HELM consists of juniors and seniors who are interested in exploring careers in healthcare, including Physician, Physician's Assistant (PA), Nurse, Occupational Therapist (OT), Physical Therapist (PT), Speech Therapist, or Hospital Administrator. The Institute will consist of a didactic and a clinical component. Among the learning experiences planned are career panels and an executive lecture series that will take place both at St. Joseph Hill Academy and SIUH. In addition, HELM will include opportunities to tour SIUH and its facilities. 

HELM students will have an opportunity to earn certificates in certain areas such as CPR. Students can earn participation credits for volunteering at SIUH and attending career panels, lecture series, and other learning opportunities. The credits will earn students the opportunity to become more involved in different aspects within the hospital, such as shadowing medical and administrative professionals.

HELM will also include opportunities for volunteering in areas of interest as well as observing and shadowing staff members.  SJHA and SIUH/Northwell, collaborated on a comprehensive syllabus for the program.

Ms. Jennifer Pla, SJHA Chairperson of the Science Department, serves as the HELM Coordinator. Ms. Pla notes, "Just as laboratories for science classes allow students to put theory into practice, the HELM Institute will give Hilltoppers the opportunity to explore the rapidly changing health care system. It will allow them to develop an understanding of current healthcare issues and make a well-informed career choice among the many health occupations."

On September 20th, the HELM Institute kicked off its first of a monthly lecture series featuring professionals from SIUH, three of which were St. Joseph Hill Academy High School alumnae. 

This is a unique and exciting opportunity for Hilltoppers to have up close exposure to an array of career paths in the medical field and access successful healthcare professionals who can serve as mentors and educators to our students. 

The first HELM career panel featured:
Moderator- Mary Beth Springstead: Associate Executive Director Human Resources
Speaker 1 - Nicole Berwald, MD: Associate Medical Director Emergency Medicine
Speaker 2- Meagan Sills, MBA: Associate Executive Director Operations (Hill HS Alumna)
Speaker 3- Katie Condon, RN: Assistant Nurse Manager Emergency Medicine (Hill HS Alumna)
Speaker 4- Joanna Pierro, DO: Pediatrician Hematology/Oncology (Hill HS Alumna)
career panel
Staten Island University Hospital's Cardiology department gave a presentation and conducted hands-on activities with Hill's Educational Leadership in Medicine Institute (HELM) students on October 20, 2021. 
  1. Dr. Mitchell Weinberg, Chair of Cardiology, and Dr. Samantha Lee demonstrated techniques from the Cath Lab that are used to help clear blockages (inflating balloons and inserting stents).
  2. Marion Foley, Sr. Director of Cardiology, demonstrated pacemakers and defibrillators that the Electrophysiology Lab uses to treat various heart arrhythmias.
  3. Echocardiogram Technologists showed how they can use ultrasound to image the heart.
In November, three of SIUH's Emergency Medicine Providers, Dr. Shorok Hassan, Dr. Danielle Langan, and PA Colleen Kane, presented to our students. They exposed them to a range of interesting topics in their field and spoke with them about their experience preparing for a medical career and working as clinicians on Staten Island.
In December, we heard about what it takes to run a hospital when a disaster strikes with a presentation from the Emergency Management Team including Deputy Executive Director, Meagan Sills, Associate Executive Director, Tim Hicks, Senior Director, Joseph Aigbojie, Senior Director Melissa Panzo, and Brian Folan. 
Students in HELM met with members of Stop the Bleed and learned three methods to prevent blood loss.  Students were given opportunities to learn how to stop bleeding by applying direct pressure to various types of wounds, as well as how to pack a wound. Student were then trained to use a tourniquet properly. They received certificates for completing this course. Students now have the ability to recognize life-threatening bleed and know how to act quickly to potentially save a life!
Students met with Dr. Ronit Gilad, who spoke to the HELM students about her journey to becoming a neurosurgeon, as well as her career as a Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Navy. She then introduced the students to various structures within the brain and explained how these structures are visualized and accessed using invasive and non-invasive techniques. Students tried putting in screws and rod into a spine using spinal navigation. 

Dr. Brahim Ardolic, Executive Director of SIUH, spoke to HELM students about different career pathways and referenced several previous HELM speakers, such as Dr. Ronit Gihad and Dr. Mitchell Weinberg. He noted how there are many opportunities to advance within the healthcare system and took careful note of Ms. Megan Sills, a graduate of SJHA, and her journey through various departments within the hospital to her current position as Deputy Executive Director. He spoke about the success the hospital has had in incorporating more technologies, including robotics, in treating patients.