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  • Writer's pictureCollege 1st Program

La Joya ISD Prepares Future Medical Professionals

Photo by Ramon Perez
La Joya ISD students perform surgery during the College 1st Health Professions CAMP at J.D. Salinas Middle School.

Written by Robert Diaz.

La Joya, TX – A student from La Joya ISD wears a mask and gloves and leans over his

patient, carefully stitching together his open wound. When she has finished, the neat

row of sutures could be mistaken for the work of a professional, but this is the first time

performing surgery. The young woman is, of course, operating on a human skin model

while participating in the College 1st Health Professions CAMP at JD Salinas Middle


The Health Professions CAMP is designed to introduce students to a wide array of

medical careers through interactive, project-based learning in an industry long known to be expanding. La Joya ISD was one of the first school districts in the Valley to open an Academy of Health Science Professions as an independent High School, where

students from La Joya, Peñitas, Palmview and Mission are enrolled for the four high

school years with the opportunity to earn medical industry certifications and college

credits. La Joya ISD became one of the few school districts in the Region to offer their

students advanced preparation for their future healthcare career. According to the US

Bureau of Labor Statistics, health care has become the largest source of jobs in the

United States. The healthcare industry has long been one of the fastest growing in the

US, driven in large part by the aging of the American population. We can see this

growth here in the Rio Grande Valley where the demand for healthcare professionals

has been increasing considerably.

“This experience was really great I was excited to learn more about the medical

field because is something I want to do when I grow up. This CAMP inspires me

to become a doctor” said Melanie Reyna, JD Salinas Middle School Student.

The Health Professions CAMP exposes students to the emerging technologies that

have made waves in the medical field. Economic trends toward increasing automation

suggests that the best prepared professionals of tomorrow will know how to interact with

technology and harness its advantages.

“I want to be success because I want to accomplish a bright future… and set the

example for future generations and make my family proud” said Emiliano

Sanchez, JD Salinas Middle School Student.

La Joya ISD Administration knows how important hands-on experience is for their

students so, not only do students use virtual reality glasses to explore the circulatory

system, but also take part in similar hands-on training that medical professionals are

exposed to. They use human skin models and suturing kits to perform surgery and get

to experience what it’s like to be a nurse during a vitals rotation. Moreover, the students

are mentored by the College 1st instructors which some are medical students, to think of

the broader effects of technology on medical professions and society by-and-large.

“I want to be successful in the future because I want to make my parents proud

and find a career that I enjoy every day” Yareli Benavides, JD Salinas Middle


As students review the human anatomy and explore different medical career options

they can pursue after college, the interspersion of hands-on activities provides them

with practical skills that medical professionals often aren’t exposed to until college. From

removing cavities from teeth models to taking the “vitals” of their peers, students get a

head start on skills they need to become the dentists, doctors, nurses, and surgeons of


For more information on La Joya ISD, please visit or contact us at


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