CHI Memorial partners with Hixson High Future Ready Institute healthcare program
Posted on 01/23/2020
A student in the CHI Memorial Institute of Healthcare and Medical Careers at Hixson High works with the robot surgical unit. CHI Memorial formally announced a partnership with the successful Hixson High Future Ready Institute healthcare program on Tuesday. The announcement involved administration and students from Hixson High, CHI Memorial representatives, district administrators, and leaders in the Future Ready Institute program.

The Hixson program will become known as the CHI Memorial Institute of Healthcare and Medical Careers at Hixson High School. The new partnership is the latest Future Ready Institute in Hamilton County Schools to join a school program with a prominent local business or organization to prepare graduates for success after graduation. During the ceremony announcing the partnership, Rhonda Hatfield, chief nursing officer and senior vice president at CHI Memorial, shared job prospects for the future with healthcare students gathered for the announcement. “I want to tell you why this Future Ready Institute is so important,” said Hatfield. “The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts by the year 2030; an additional 2 million healthcare jobs will be needed to meet the demands of an aging population. That should be exciting to students interested in the field of healthcare.”

CHI Memorial brought the da Vinci robotic surgical system to Hixson High for the occasion and allowed students to get hands-on experience using the high-tech surgical equipment. Hixson students were able to sit at the controls of the da Vinci System and perform tasks to simulate robot-assisted surgery procedures a surgeon may use in actual surgery. The students operated a system similar to the one many surgeons at CHI Memorial use in the operating room. C. Lee Jackson, M.D., robotic prostate surgeon, and surgery service line medical director at CHI Memorial worked with the students as they sat at the surgeon controls. The students experienced the da Vinci system’s magnified 3D high-definition vision system and tiny wrist-like instruments that bend and rotate far greater than the human hand.

“The reason our program at Hixson is successful can be summed up in two words – provide opportunities,” said Hannah Stewart, instructor of the sports and human performance program at Hixson. “We want to thank CHI Memorial for partnering with us to help our program continue to grow and serve our students who are so passionate about what they do in our program here at Hixson.”

After the announcement, students in the different areas of the program, including dental, healthcare, and sports medicine, hosted demonstration stations to showcase what they have learned. Other students and dignitaries on hand for the announcement took turns rotating through the demonstration areas and marveled at the opportunities available to students in high school in Hamilton County Schools.

Dr. Bryan Johnson, superintendent of Hamilton County Schools, launched Future Ready Institutes in 2018. The new career programs within a school concept challenge the traditional approach to education in high schools by developing career-themed small learning communities. Themes include medicine, robotics, forensic science, engineering, hospitality, technology, business, marketing, and more. Teachers of all content areas, including English, math, science, and social studies, work closely with the career theme teacher to provide classroom instruction through the lens of a career. The goal is for students to clearly understand why a lesson is important and how they will use the information in the future.

Future Ready Institutes are a key part of the district’s five-year strategic plan that includes providing future-ready students prepared for success after graduation. The institutes also help to accelerate student achievement, which is also one of the five action areas included in the plan that will direct academic progress for Hamilton County Schools through 2023.

“Preparing graduates for success after graduation is at the heart of the Future Ready Institute program across the district,” said Dr. Bryan Johnson, superintendent, Hamilton County Schools. “CHI Memorial working with the successful Hixson program is a partnership that will allow high school teens to see and experience the careers available to them in healthcare after graduation and provide incentive for them to dig deeper into what they are learning in science, math, and other academic courses as they see how the information relates to them and their future goals.”