Developed in 2001, CHI St. Luke’s Health’s Patient Care Assistant (PCA) Summer Externship Program provides high-performing, urban high school students with hands-on medical training and valuable skills in basic patient care. Your gift to the PCA program helps change the lives of the students who participate, their families and the patients they treat.

This program for career development in healthcare focuses on high school students in some of Houston's poorest neighborhoods. Students in these areas, even those with high grades, are disproportionately at risk of dropping out before graduation or being unable to attend college. For such students, the PCA Summer Externship makes a career in the always thriving healthcare field an achievable goal by giving them the professional tools they need.

CHI St. Luke's Health partners with Communities in Schools of Houston to offer an annual, eight-week, 40-hour-per-week curriculum to 20 local students. The bulk of the program’s $85,000 budget goes directly to those students in the form of stipends equal to the entry-level salary of an employed PCA.

Thanks to philanthropic support, more than 200 low-income students thrived in the program and 91 are employed as professional PCAs at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center.