Three years ago, The Medical Academy was established through a partnership with Bert Fish Medical Center and New Smyrna Beach High School. The four-year program pairs a painstaking academic curriculum with on-site job shadowing, internships, and research experiences with local medical business partners.
During the 1998-1999 school year, students spent 242 contact days career shadowing at Bert Fish. They also enroll in executive internships with directors, surgeons, and physicians. Bert Fish also regularly provides guest speakers to the high school. This partnership has furthermore developed and implemented healthy community awareness activities. The students in the Academy work with medical professionals to create health education programs for students at all grade levels. They also develop those same educational opportunities for the community at large.
Annually, 120-150 high school students usually are serviced by the Academy. This year, there are 190 students. This program is the highest attended academy for all of the high schools in the area.
New Smyrna Beach High School has been directly affected by the support from the Medical Center. BFMC not only helped to develop the Academy with the backing of high school officials, the related Bert Fish Foundation has provided grants to the Medical Academy totaling $123,000. Bert Fish Medical Center also has donated hospital equipment, established a volunteer program to allow students to volunteer on the nursing floors, provides free vaccinations and physicals to students and sponsors other events. The New Smyrna Beach community also has benefited from the partnership because of the health education programs developed by Academy students working with medical professionals.
The birth and continual growth of the Medical Academy at Bert Fish Medical Center will affect hundreds of students now and in the future. The Academy gives students and in-depth experience of the medical field, which helps them to choose their career path. Volusia County Schools named the Academy as the 1999-2000 Volusia Partner of the Year and they were also nominated for a JCPenney Golden Rule Award.