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Bringing Diversity to Health Care

Program reaches out to young people of color

Carlos Hernandez-Morfin, a recent Portland State University graduate and aspiring medical student, participated in a Legacy Health program to increase ethnic and racial diversity in the health care professions.

How do you draw more young people of color like Carlos Hernandez-Morfin into health care? With a little HOPE. Legacy’s Health Occupation and Profession Education, called HOPE, is now in its 20th year. It was created to increase the ethnic and racial diversity in health care professions.

“I had an amazing experience,” says Carlos Hernandez-Morfin, a recent Portland State University graduate who joined the program five years ago. “I’ve decided to become a family practice physician.”

HOPE, formerly called the Youth Employment in Summer Program, provides experiences through paid summer internships to influence students of color to choose health care majors in college.

“The health care profession would benefit from greater cultural diversity to better reflect the growing diversity in our communities,” says Cathy Reynolds, Legacy Health’s director of employment and workforce planning. “Students work up to 400 hours a year, mainly during the summer, in clinical and non-clinical departments with mentors. Some return during winter or spring break from college.

Here are voices of this year’s HOPE interns:

“My internship in pediatric development was amazing,” says Tressina Eddinger. “I worked besides therapists who served the smallest, most vulnerable children.” Eddinger plans to become a nurse and earn a doctorate in nursing.

“The pace was exciting,” says Maya Gonzalez of her time in the ER at Legacy Good Samaritan Medical Center. “It pushed me out of my timidness to get nosy and ask staff questions about what I saw or heard.” Gonzalez plans to study human physiology in a pre-med track at the University of Oregon.

“The advice I’d give to future interns is to push yourself beyond your comfort zone to the unfamiliar,” says Zach Mendenhall Roldan, who spent the summer at Randall Children’s Hospital working with injury prevention and wellness. “The exposure and experiences were incredible. I’m now leaning toward a pre-med major to become a pediatrician.”

“I was selected because of my interest in the medical field,” says Stephani Carlos-Catano, who learned about the variety of health care professions through an internship in Legacy’s Human Resources Department.

More information on HOPE, visit


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