While the team at Spectrum Health Innovations (SHI) develops innovations to solve health care problems and improve the lives of patients, we do not do so alone. We do so collaboratively with the community, and we do so with an eye to the future. Year after year, SHI encourages the youngest generations to take on leadership roles, learn new skills and think in creative ways.
Teen Entrepreneur Summer Academy youth learn about health care innovation
Since 2009, the Teen Entrepreneur Summer Academy, or TESA, has provided 148 Grand Rapids students an immersive experience in solving problems, encouraging an entrepreneurship mindset. The intensive, five-day summer program for high school students is designed and provided by the Richard M. and Helen DeVos Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at the Seidman College of Business.
In June 2018, a group of 46 high school students visited SHI to learn about the process of innovation—from ideation to solution.
“Spectrum Health Innovations has been a great partner and sponsor for TESA,” says Shorouq Almallah, director, Richard M. and Helen DeVos Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Grand Valley State University. “Our students go on a field trip to visit SHI, and they learn about the entire process of innovation. The program provides students with fundamental business concepts and essential entrepreneurship skills.”
Students learn about a real-world problem and explore the possibilities on how to solve it, coming up with ideas for services or products; doing market research for a targeted audience; exploring operations, financials and marketing; and finally give a 5-minute presentation to a panel of judges, competing for cash prizes totaling $5,000. For the 2018 presentation, Lori Henry, PMP, project manager, SHI, was among the panel of judges. The students worked on a project of building SMART cities, focusing on how to advance technology, and create safe and attractive urban spaces.
“Based on the data that we have collected about participating students in TESA since 2009, 13 percent have gone on to start a business, 42 percent are employed and have a career, and 54 percent are currently pursuing a higher education degree,” says Almallah.
Kent Intermediate School District program prepares students for career readiness in health care
The Health Career Immersion Program of the Kent Intermediate School District Career Readiness Department in partnership with local health care organizations provides a job shadow experience that allows about 40 students to explore a wide variety of health careers by observing health professionals while they work. The program is available to Kent County high school seniors interested in pursuing a career in health care, and the students visited several Spectrum Health hospitals under the guidance of Spectrum Health Innovations.
“Students gain a tremendous amount of career knowledge that assists them in their decision-making process through the Health Care Immersion program,” says Krista Harmon, career exploration coordinator – health sciences, Kent Intermediate School District.
DECA prepares emerging leaders in health care
Another highly successful community collaboration takes place with the Michigan chapter of DECA. DECA prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges around the globe. Brenda Cook is a business teacher at the Center of Innovation High School, part of the Grand Rapids Public School system.
“Spectrum Health Innovations has been one of a dozen or so organizations involved with our kids, and this year, SHI has also been a sponsor,” says Cook. “Our DECA team earned 28 medals last year in competitions.”
Approximately 60 students, mostly juniors and seniors, were involved in DECA competitions in 2018, competing against 17 schools, with about 40 proceeding to statewide competitions. Lori Henry, a member of the SHI team, is on the advisory board, offering encouragement and support to the students.
Rockford High School students experience hands-on learning
With 55 students from her advanced business management classes, Peggy Klein, business education teacher at Rockford High School, organized a field trip to Spectrum Health Innovations, providing a rare experiential, hands-on learning opportunity for her students.
“It’s an invaluable experience for them,” Klein says. “The students had an opportunity to get into surgical scrubs, worked on a medical mannequin and handled medical prototypes during various stages of the development process.”
A student response sums it up: “This is amazing!”