Farmington Hills, Mich., February 12, 2007--- After 5 p.m. on Friday when most people start their weekends, two physicians at Botsford Hospital in Farmington Hills were meeting with 18 students from area high schools to answer questions about how to become a medical doctor. The meeting took place in the hospital’s corporate boardroom and was hosted by Paul LaCasse, D.O., MPH, Botsford’s president and CEO. Joining him were Barbara Palmer, Botsford’s corporate vice president of human resources, and Gilbert Herman, Ph.D., M.D., Botsford’s director of laboratory medicine. LaCasse’s teenage guests all volunteer at the hospital.
After thanking the students for their volunteer work at Botsford, LaCasse asked the kids to introduce themselves. As juniors and seniors, they attend Catholic Central High School, Farmington High School, Garden City High School, Harrison High School, the International Academy, North Farmington High School, Novi High School and Walled Lake Northern High School. Many have not yet made career choices, but most expressed interest in working in health care.
LaCasse urges the teens to spend their undergraduate years to learn how to think analytically, which would prepare them well for medical school.
“Everything you’ll learn in life, you’ll ultimately apply at some point,” says Dr. Gil Herman. He continues, “In addition to being good problem solvers and really liking working with people, doctors need to keep open minds, because so many diseases look alike.” Herman wants the students to “find your group” since the medical field is so diverse. For example, he earned a doctorate in science and spent many years as a researcher and teacher before going to medical school and ultimately becoming one of the preeminent clinical pathologists in the state of Michigan. LaCasse’s path differed: medical school, 15 years practicing emergency medicine at Botsford, master’s degree in public health and now leading one of the largest independent hospitals in southeast Michigan.
Forty-six of the hospital’s volunteers are students at area high schools. They come to Botsford to gain knowledge of the medical field and experience to get employment. Some volunteer to prepare for the scholarship or college application process or to meet National Honor Society or graduation requirements.
High school volunteers work in a variety of hospital departments, including some clinical areas. For example, Jillian Bowers, 18, a senior at Walled Lake North High School with a 3.93 grade point average, began volunteering in Botsford’s Endoscopy Department last summer. She had always planned on becoming a doctor. She changed her mind after discovering the nurse anesthetist field. Her time spent working with Botsford’s nurses opened her eyes to this exciting career. Bowers followed the advice given by Barbara Palmer: “Spend your volunteer time at Botsford learning and talking to our health care professionals.”
Botsford Hospital, an independent, acute care, 330-bed community hospital in Farmington Hills, Mich., was founded in 1965. Nationally recognized for quality, safety and medical education programs, Botsford has received the 2005 Solucient 100 Top Hospitals: Performance Improvement Leaders award and the 2005 Governor’s Award of Excellence for Improving Care in the Hospital Setting (for treatment of heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia) and in the Emergency Department Setting (for treatment of heart attack and pneumonia). Botsford’s Web address is
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