Hidalgo ISD, DHR Health Institute work together for student enrichment program!



     Hidalgo ISD’s Early College High School (HECHS) continues to cultivate a learning environment for all students by providing them with incredibly unique learning experiences.  

     Recently, Hidalgo Early College High School worked in conjunction with DHR Health Institute for Research and Development.  

     The DHR Health institute for Research and Development hosted a Junior Clinical Research Internship (JCRI) program for students to participate in a two-week in-person program where they learned about health science research in a relatively short period of time.

     “The students definitely felt the pressure of performing with strict time constraints, rigorous material and deadlines,” said Ashley Gonzalez, HECHS Health Science teacher. “However, I felt the students adapted well, DHR had amazing hosts and personnel as well as myself and other instructors for support and guidance.”   

     The internship was offered to high school students at the Junior level of instruction, with the goal of enhancing their interest in biomedical sciences and career pathways in the healthcare field.  

     The program was generated to “provide students and educators with high quality and unique experiences to meet growing demand in Health Science Professions,” said Ricardo Lopez, Jr., Project Director, GEAR UP: College Now-Career Connected.  

     The internship was at 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday at DHR Health in Edinburg, TX. Breakfast, lunch, and afternoon snacks were provided daily for students and educators. Transportation was also provided to and from DHR Health for the two-week period.  

     “My DHR experience was fascinating because I learned so much about the program,” stated senior Fernanda Ortiz. “We were also given the opportunity to ride in the bus, and also welcomed us with a delicious warm breakfast along with a lunch and afternoon snack.”  

     HECHS GEAR UP Facilitator, Jorge Ochoa hopes this opportunity will help students gain the necessary knowledge, skills, and passion for future health science careers.  

     “The students were able to experience firsthand what research is all about,” said Ochoa.  “Not only did the students receive knowledge from the staff, but they had the opportunity to network with doctors and professionals.”  

     In return, students were appreciative of this hands-on experience where they felt they were being challenged yet received a better understanding of biomedical behavioral and clinical research. 

     “I’m grateful to Hidalgo ISD for these hands-on experiences that are always offered to us for free,” explained senior, Aliyah Coronado. “I was also excited about making a lot of connections with the doctors and teachers, and they made us feel comfortable coming to them with questions/concerns about the course.” 

     It was an extensive two-week course, but the doctor’s presentations made it that much more interesting and intriguing because the students were engaged in firsthand activities that consisted of critical thinking, development of clinical skills, and practicum experiences such as blood drawing, basic life support, patient vital signs, immunology detection of antigens and antibodies.  

     “Every day different doctors specialized for different branches in the medical field presented, which made it very interesting to see firsthand all the different categories the medical field consists of,” said Ortiz. “I want to be a dietitian in the future, and it was exciting and comforting to have a nutritionist present because I learned so much from the information she delivered, and of course the questions she allowed me to ask.”  

     As this was an incredibly unique experience not only for students but for the teachers as well, Gonzalez hopes the students continue to enjoy the journey of learning.  

     “My advice for my students through these internships is to adopt the mindset that life is a continual journey of learning and maturing, learn to enjoy the journey!” exclaimed Gonzalez. “Learn to embrace challenges rather than avoid them and choose to see challenges as fun opportunities to learn and grow.”