About the Pomona Health Career Ladder

Pomona Unified School District, Cal Poly Pomona and Western University have partnered with each other to create a pipeline to guide and promote Pomona students through their education to careers as heath care professionals. Dr. Philip Pumerantz, President of Western University of Health Sciences, has championed the idea of a "Career Ladder" since 1983.

"Pipeline" projects such as this one are typically divided into two types: programs that work with "downstream" students, defined as those who are near the health professional stages of their education; or "upstream" students, defined as K-12. The Pomona Health Career Ladder is unique, connecting both the upstream and downstream components in a long-term, three-institution cooperative arrangement.

Dr. Pumerantz, Dr. J. Michael Ortiz, president of Cal Poly Pomona, and Dr. Thelma Mendez de Santa Ana with studentsThis idea became a reality with a memorandum of understanding to develop the Career Ladder signed by Dr. Pumerantz, Dr. J. Michael Ortiz, President of Cal Poly Pomona, and Dr. Thelma Melendez de Santa Ana, Superintendent of Pomona Unified School District (PUSD).

The three organizations are all involved in the Pomona Youth and Family Master Plan, which addresses problems such as gang violence and poor academic achievement by fostering a caring community that promotes positive youth development through collaboration. The Career Ladder will be one of their major contributions to this effort.

The Career Ladder will identify math and science scholars in Pomona schools, guide them through an undergraduate health/science degree at Cal Poly Pomona and into any of the professional training programs at WesternU through a program-based network of outreach, guidance, mentoring and financial assistance. The ultimate goal is to produce health care professionals who will serve the Pomona community. Participating scholars can plan on careers as physicians, dentists, veterinarians, physical therapists, physician assistants, podiatrists, optometrists, pharmacists, and more.

Dr. Pumerantz speaking to studentsThe program will also give students a goal to aspire to, a vision of future possibilities.

"This gives children a chance to become successful and to make a contribution to society," says Dr. Pumerantz "It's to give children in the school system a view of what their future could be."

An advisory committee consisting of scholars and health professionals from all three participating institutions is in place to implement the curriculum and develop the process of mentoring and moving students through the system.