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Sixteen-year-old Karla Bravo doesn’t graduate from high school until 2024, yet she already has a job offer from Indiana University Health.
That’s because Bravo is part of an elite group of young people participating in the philanthropy-powered IU Health Fellowship at Crispus Attucks High School (CAHS)—a program that guarantees Fellows an IU Health medical assistant or patient care tech position upon completing the fellowship and graduating from high school.
But completing the program is no easy feat. It requires time, dedication and ambition—three areas which Bravo, an aspiring pediatrician, is committed to.
“I have big goals,” Bravo said. “I know I have a bright future ahead.”
Following the competitive application process, Bravo was admitted to the program in 2021 as a rising sophomore and agreed to spend the next two summers exploring careers in patient care, research and administrative support. Funded in part by a generous grant from the Lily Endowment, as well as support from IU Health Foundation, the fellowship gives CAHS students hands-on experience in healthcare—everything from bedside care to business and data management.
It also gives IU Health the opportunity to create a pipeline of young professionals and direct them towards rewarding and well-paying jobs in healthcare.
“This program serves so many needs in our community,” said Program Manager Andrea Russell. “It cultivates talent and diversifies our workforce, which ultimately improves the landscape of healthcare in Indiana.”
This past summer, Bravo finished her first year of the six-week internship program, which included two weeks at IU Health Foundation learning about the inner workings of a nonprofit.
“I had never heard the word ‘philanthropy’ before,” said Bravo, “but now I’ve been exposed to an entirely new side of healthcare that I didn’t even know existed.”
She brushed shoulders with everyone at the Foundation—from development officers and grant writers to donor relations experts and executive leaders. These opportunities for enrichment provided Bravo with an understanding of philanthropic work as it relates to business strategy, building donor portfolios, finance, communications and stewardship, as well as knowledge of programs that are funded by philanthropic dollars.
“Now I understand the significant role philanthropy plays in the healthcare system and for the betterment of Indiana and its residents,” Bravo shared.
Next year, through the fellowship program, Bravo will participate in another immersive, multi-week internship experience aligned with her specific career goals. Along the way, she will also have the opportunity to earn five industry-recognized certifications, as well as 29 dual credits from Ivy Tech Community College that aligns with a healthcare specialist associates degree.
Upon completing her degree, Bravo will be the first in her family to graduate from college.
“When individuals have access to resources, they are able to invest in themselves,” said Russell. “Programs like this fellowship open doors for young people in our community—doors they might not be able to open on their own.”
What’s the key to unlocking those doors for our future physicians, nurses, researchers and therapists? Russell said it’s philanthropy.
“Supporting workforce development opportunities like this fellowship is more than an investment in a program,” she said. “It’s an investment in the lives of these students, and their families and their communities. It’s an investment in the future of Indiana.”
If you’d like to support professional development and education advancement programs like the IU Health Fellowship at Crispus Attucks High School, contact IU Health Foundation Regional Grants Director Karissa Hulse at 317.289.9365.