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Dallas Can Academy Volunteers Offer Dose of Careers Available in Medicine

Students are selected for internship program offered by renowned surgeon


Eight promising students from Dallas Can Academy’s Ross Avenue campus were recently selected by the school’s principal, Fernando Vadillo, to participate in an inaugural medical careers internship with The W.B. Carrell Clinic of Dallas.  Renowned orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Kurt Kitziger, is volunteering his time and resources to craft a meaningful and rigorous introduction to medical careers for eight students who have demonstrated a strong interest in pursuing employment in medicine or healthcare upon graduation from high school.


Dr. Kitziger and his wife, Leslie Leeds Kitziger, toured a Dallas Can Academy campus several months ago and were inspired to provide a mentoring experience for interested students.  Their objective, to expose students to a variety of careers related to medicine and health care, would introduce youth to the variety of health care careers with promising job growth, and thus incentivize them to complete their high school curriculum. Along with giving the teenagers valuable work experience, the internships also offer the students exposure to various career paths so that they might find one they want to pursue.


Originally from New Orleans, Dr. and Mrs. Kitziger moved to Dallas in 2005 in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Mrs. Kitziger developed a close association with Dallas Can Academy’s Ross Avenue campus where she volunteers three days per week.  With a Masters of Social Work, Mrs. Kitziger knows firsthand the advantages cultivated by exposing students to real-life examples of attainable future careers. With her husband’s support, she initiated a student field trip to The Carrell Clinic with 40 students from Dallas Can Academy’s Ross Avenue campus. The students toured the facility, which includes a 20-bed hospital, and listened to personnel from different areas of the medical campus describe what their particular job entails.


“Our interest in pursuing a student internship resulted from the enthusiasm engendered by that first field trip,” recalls Mrs. Kitziger, “The kids were excited, impressed and so inquisitive about all the different healthcare jobs available. It was heartwarming to watch the possibilities for their future blossom in front of our eyes as they listened to the different speakers explain their careers.”


The Kitzigers’ vision and long-range goals include assisting in establishing a medical careers certification program through El Centro College for Dallas Can Academy students. The program would serve as an incentive to motivated high school students interested in a career in healthcare. The Kitzigers have also established a scholarship fund to support students that want to continue their education in the medical field.


The inaugural internship had two groups of four students each that met for six weeks at The Carrell Clinic, under the tutelage of Dr. Kitziger, who specializes in hip and knee replacement, and his medical staff. The students rotated through many departments within his practice, as well as various other departments within The Carrell Clinic. Rotations included reception, x-ray, IT, medical assistant, orthopedic casting, records and security. Not only did staff members in each department provide the students an opportunity to learn about their respective medical fields but they also shared their personal journeys and experiences in their respective fields to hopefully inspire the student interns to do the same.


Each student was also able to view surgical procedures and meet with vendors. Meeting outside partners and vendors to The Carrell Clinic introduced the students to networking and the importance of developing professional relationships.


“The heart and soul of our mission at Dallas Can Academy is manifested in the good works of people such as Dr. and Mrs. Kitziger,” said Principal Vadillo. “Through the vision and ideas and support of our community, Dallas Can Academy’s graduates truly can succeed and continue to college or enter the workforce in technical fields like the ones the Kitzigers have introduced to them.”  


Currently there are 115 occupations recognized by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) that require a high school diploma and pay an hourly wage of $20 an hour or more. Forbes reported that BLS data predicted which jobs would have the highest growth between 2014 and 2024 and 13 of the top 20 fastest growing jobs are in the healthcare industry.


With an aging population of Baby Boomers, the healthcare system is experiencing the greatest expansion in history. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that nearly one-in-eight Americans will be employed in the healthcare industry by 2022.


Texans Can Academies believes in offering their students support and choices for a successful life after high school graduation. Their students often do not have the support at home to help them apply for college or jobs so that they may either continue their education or transition into a career path. Programs that volunteers like Dr. and Leslie Kitziger have developed and managed with the guidance of the school are incredibly important to their students’ success.  

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