Interview of Riverchase Career Connections Center Female HOSA Officers
HOSA (Health Education Students of America), or future health professionals, helps high school students get a better understanding of the medical field and prepares them for a future in the medical field. I interviewed their President: Katie Swetz, and both of their Vice-Presidents of Public relations: Lauren Gardner and Emily Hofmann. I asked all three of them a series of questions about HOSA, women in the medical field, and how HOSA is helping women and I recorded their responses.
The first question I asked was “What is HOSA and what do you guys do?”
Swetz said that “HOSA is a student-led organization that prepares students to be leaders in health science in the future as well as community service and outreach projects”.
Next, I asked, “What does HOSA mean to you”.
Gardner said “HOSA to me means a way to get more in touch with the community and a way to further my education on health science because that is what I want to go into in the future, So I feel like this will really help me and give me a leg up in the future”
I also asked, “Why did you decide to be a member of HOSA?”.
Hofmann said: “I really like leading others and helping them work together, and health science and HOSA both have so much collaboration that it is so much fun learning how to work together to promote health science and get other people involved”
I ended up asking about women’s representation in Hosa, more specifically the question: “Do you feel like women are well represented in HOSA?”.
Swetz responded to this by saying “I do, there are a lot of women on the leadership board be it statewide, nationally, or in our smaller chapter. I feel like there is not much discrimination at all when it comes to competing and who has access to resources and I definitely think women are well represented”.
I asked them “You said that HOSA is about helping people get into the medical field, what made you want to be in the medical field and how does hosa give people, more specifically women, the leg up?”.
Gardner stated: “I want to be in the medical field because I have always loved trying to help people and I also have wanted to be in the medical field since I was a kid. My dad is a doctor so he kind of got me into it when he would take me to his office. I found it really interesting and As I learn more about it becomes more interesting”. She also said “It helps you connect more with the people around you and helps you meet a lot more women in health care and helps you say ‘wow, I can really do this, there are other women just like me in health care and they want to go out and be what I want to be.’”. Swetz responded to this by saying: “HOSA gives girls the leg up by really preparing us to be leaders in health science to not just survive, but thrive and to push the boundaries of what is possible.”
I also asked “Do you think a lot more women are going into the medical field than they were in previous decades?”.
Swetz responded by saying: “ Yes, actually there is scientific proof that there are more women going to college for more stem-based majors than, say, a liberal arts major. So yes I do and I am so excited to see such diversity in the Health Scientist community and I think it is wonderful”
I asked: “Do you think that women have to work harder to get to the same position that men are in regards to the medical field and do you think HOSA is going to be something that changes that?”.
Hofmann responded: “Yes, I do feel like women have to work twice as hard. Men do not have that- to prove people wrong and it is more of a leg up for me to work for that so that I’m even more prepared to succeed because I am working harder than they had to.”
The question “Do you think women are well represented in the medical field now?” was also asked, and the response from Swetz was “I think there is a lot of good representation, but I think there is always still room to grow. While we are better than we might have been many years ago, we still can be doing better. But I think we are on the right path.”. Gardner also answered this question and she said: “I do feel like they are well represented now depending on the specialty because I know there are some statistics that are insane about how few women are practicing or specializing in specific areas, so in certain parts of the medical field they are”
The last question asked: “To people who are interested in the medical field, what would you recommend them to do now to learn more about the field?”.
Gardner said: “Get involved as much as they can in things around them that are health-related and if they know anyone around them in the medical field they can try for an internship or talk with them and learn more about it and make sure it is really what they want to do in life. Also getting exposure to things in the medical field is something that can help women succeed in the medical field”. I also got Swetz’s answer which was “Do all of the research that you can, but know that nothing is set in stone and you don’t need to be decided on anything because anything can change in a matter of minutes as we have seen with the pandemic so I would say if it is something you really enjoy, do your research, look into [it because] maybe you want to be a doctor, maybe you want to be a physicians assistant, maybe you want to go [into] nursing, Just do all of the research to do something that you love, and then find out how to get there and make a plan, stick to your plan, and follow-through. But also be flexible with it, as you go about you may find out you really like another specialty better and may want to go down that path. So be prepared for it to change but stay focused, work hard, and know that you will get there”
HOSA is an organization that helps women strive to be in the medical field where the same opportunities are given to men and women. It is hard for women to find their space in many programs, especially STEM programs, so it is amazing what HOSA is doing for women who want to pursue STEM-based careers.
Learn more about HOSA here, https://alabamahosa.org/about/