HelpThe benefits of inclusivity and collaboration in medicineare central to a new program started by three siblings to train tomorrow’shealthcare leaders. Sharon Lockett, a patient services representative for theClinical Practices of the University of Pennsylvania located at PennPresbyterian Medical Center, her brother, L. Mark Lockett, and sister, MichelleLockett, have teamed up with Physical Trainer Thurston Owen to create a newprogram that provides young people with information and tools to follow intheir footsteps.

For this group of inspired health care professionals, thejourney began when they were teenagers, attending the Health Academy at BrightHope Baptist Church. It was there that they were inspired to pursue theircurrent careers. Founded by the late Leonard Johnson, MD, the HealthAcademy and its range of programs ended in 2000.

Now years after graduation and well into their healthprofessions, Michelle, L. Mark, and Thurston founded The Health Exposure LongevityProject, Inc. (HELP) to fill that void and direct their energy back to anorganization that gave so much to them.

HELP supplements the Church’s Health Academy summer camp asa free, 12-session mentoring program for 20 African American and Latino youth,ages 5-14 years old, who are interesting in pursuing a career in health care.As part of the program, the kids are taught how to manage their own health.

As black female health professionals, Sharon and Michelle,who is also HELP’s executive director, see the program as a way of paying itforward to the predominantly minority community that gave them direction andsupport years ago.

For example, it was mentorship at the Church’s HealthAcademy by Loretta Sweet Jemmott, PhD, FAAN, RN, of the Penn School ofNursing that led Michelle to a nursing career.

The sisters already see the program expanding to new areas.

Sharon recentlyreceived a Penn Medicine CAREs grant for the HELP program. The grant fundsjournals and offiffi ce supplies, healthy meals for participants (as part ofhealthy eating workshops), use of the Church facility, Zumba dance classes, anda small honorarium for guest speakers. Knowing health care maintenance anddisease prevention techniques can make a strong difference in a community’shealth, the group says. As part of the program, these vital lessons areoutlined in a number of interactive sessions.

“We wanted to takewhat was done with Health Academy and tweak it a bit with HELP,” said Sharon.“We oft en try to show what you can do with different health care positions anddegrees. For example, ’this is a radiology technician, physician assistant,X-ray technician, doctor, and this is how they got there.’ It’s about seeing thechildren that you’ve helped and the fruits of your labor in their success.”

Visit http://www.pennmedicine.org/health-system/about/community/to learn more about Penn Medicine CAREs, report your community service, andapply for a grant today!

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