HOSA –Future Health Professionals is now an official student organization at ASCC. Seen here are (l-r) Staff Advisor Ms. Sailitafa Samoa, who is also Program Director of the American Samoa Area Health Education Center, student HOSA President Michael-James "MJ" Sword-Curry, and student member Sivoki Niumataiwalu. HOSA stands for Health Occupations Students of Ameria. (Photo: J. Kneubuhl)

HOSA Offers Opportunities to ASCC Health Students

June 4, 2015

By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer

HOSA, short for Health Occupations Students of America, is a national student organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Health Science Education (HSE) Division of the Association for Career and Technical Education. HOSA's two-fold mission is to promote career opportunities in the health care industry, and to enhance the delivery of quality health care to all people. HOSA's goal is to encourage all health science (or other science) instructors and students to join and be actively involved in the HSE-HOSA Partnership.

Headquartered in Southlake, Texas, HOSA is the largest student organization which prepares students to enter the healthcare field and provides a unique program of leadership development, motivation, and recognition exclusively for secondary, postsecondary, adult, and collegiate students who are enrolled in health science education and biomedical science programs or have interests in pursuing careers in health professions.

Through the efforts of Ms. Sailitafa Samoa, Program Director of the American Samoa Area Health Education Center (ASAHEC), a program of the American Samoa Community College (ASCC), Health & Human Services instructor Dr. Daniel Chang, the Division of Academic Affairs, and the Division of Student Services, HOSA –Future Health Professionals is now an official student organization at ASCC, with Ms. Samoa serving as its Staff Advisor and Dr. Chang designated as Faculty Advisor. Pre-Nursing major Michael James “MJ” Sword-Curry has been selected as the first student President of the American Samoa HOSA chapter.

Initiated by Ms. Samoa in summer 2014, the fall 2014 and spring 2015 semesters saw the local HOSA chapter going through the growing phase characteristic of any new entity, as Ms. Samoa and Dr. Chang counseled the first group of interested students, who in turn established their system of governance and set about organizing the first projects related to the goals of the new organization. During its first two semesters, HOSA attracted a membership of eight students, but with the College now in its summer semester and some initial members having graduated, at the moment the HOSA student roster consists solely of President Sword-Curry, fellow Pre-Nursing major Miss Gracechelle Cabalar, and Miss Sivoki Niumataiwalu, who has yet to declare her major.

Although small in number, Ms. Samoa still has high praise for the first group of students to persevere with HOSA. “They are truly pioneers of something that I believe will grow and expand as more students learn of HOSA,” she said. “Along with them, Dr. Chang and I learned about organizing the ASCC chapter.” To gain more insight on activities the chapter can undertake and opportunities the organization can provide, Ms. Samoa will attend the HOSA National Conference in Anaheim, CA in June, accompanied by Mrs. Magdalene Augafa-Lauanae, the Health Coordinator and a representative of the Department of Education.

Across the nation, students lead each HOSA chapter, but membership is open to anyone, which gives experienced health professionals the opportunity to contribute their knowledge and skills to the chapter’s activities if they wish. HOSA members gain experience working with their peers and developing service projects that involve professional development, leadership development and/or social development. In addition to health and science students and professionals, HOSA activities may also involve participants from other professions such as English teachers, Public speech teachers, journalists, or artists, depending on the nature of any given project.

“HOSA offers its members opportunities to grow and become leaders through inter-action across different disciplines in the health field,” said Ms. Samoa. “Their activities could involve medicine, nursing, forensics, emergency preparedness, veterinary science and many other areas relating to future careers in health and science. I think our students need exposure to a wide range of options to find an area of health care they feel especially drawn to, and HOSA enables this.” HOSA members also have opportunities to participate in both local and national activities, and access to a wide range of scholarship options.

For their assistance in helping to steer the evolution of HOSA over the past two semesters, Ms. Samoa credits the ASAHEC Advisory Board, made up of local health and education professionals. For more information on the ASCC chapter of HOSA, contact Ms. Samoa of ASAHEC at 699-1587.