Mentoring Tomorrow’s Pediatric Healthcare Providers

August 16, 2017

Malcolm X College nursing student David Gonzalez checks a young patient's vitals under the supervision of Lurie Children's nurse Janieka Miller, RN.

Lurie Children’s is partnering in a pilot mentoring program with Malcolm X College, which serves as the center for healthcare education for the City Colleges of Chicago. Nearly 25 students training to be nurses, medical assistants and medical coding specialists are receiving hands-on training under the supervision of Lurie Children’s staff. In addition to job shadowing, Malcolm X students receive training in résumé writing, job interviewing and leadership skills.

Malcolm X nursing student David Gonzalez recently “shadowed” Lurie Children’s nurse Janieka Miller, RN. One of the skills Janieka taught him was how to give medications to a patient through his G-tube. While the 4-year-old boy looked like he’d rather be anywhere else but in a hospital bed, David coaxed a smile from him when he handed him his flashlight.

David hasn’t decided on a nursing specialty yet, but he says he enjoyed his pediatrics rotation at Lurie Children’s. “Emotionally, dealing with children can be a little difficult, but I like helping kids and working with their families,” he says. “Also, the nurses were great to work with.”

The partnership with Malcolm X is the latest addition to Lurie Children’s wide array of workforce training programs for minority students interested in careers in pediatric healthcare. Since 2001, the hospital has offered a number of programs for Chicago Public Schools high school students under the “Chase Your Dreams” umbrella. Thanks to funding from J.P. Morgan Chase, each year over 700 students take part in training and mentoring programs. Students can receive classroom credit and apply for paid summer internships. To date, more than 60 graduates of the programs have been hired by Lurie Children’s.

“These students represent our future recruitment pool,” says Maria Rivera, Manager of Workforce Development at Lurie Children’s, where 38 percent of patient families are either African American or Hispanic. “Since we started the program, our goal has been for our healthcare providers to more closely mirror our patient population. Our hope is that students like David will share the amazing experiences they’ve had here and get other Malcolm X students interested in the program.”

With your support, Lurie Children’s can expand its mentoring program with Malcolm X College to students in additional healthcare disciplines in the college’s School of Health Sciences. Contact Lurie Children's Foundation at 312.227.7500 or

This article originally appeared in the Summer 2017 issue of Heroes magazine.