ASCC HOSA Elects 2016-2017 Officers
October 17, 2016
By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer
The American Samoa Community College (ASCC) chapter of the Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) has elected its officers for fall 2016 through spring 2017, and outlined an agenda of activities to provide today’s health and human services students with an opportunity to gain a competitive edge as they pursue their goal of becoming tomorrow’s health professionals. Newly elected President Sivoki Niumataiwalu, Vice President Chesiah Javier, Secretary Reina Sotto, Treasurer Gracechelle Cabalar, Historians/Reporters Mafoa Falefata and William Siaki, and Student Government Association Liaison Motutama Sipelii will lead more than a dozen of their peer HOSA members over the next 12 months.
A nationwide organization recognized by the US Department of Education, the purpose of HOSA is to develop leadership and technical skill competencies through a program of motivation, awareness and recognition. HOSA seeks to enhance the delivery of quality healthcare by providing opportunities for knowledge, skill and leadership development to all health science students. To prepare students for further education and entry level certification and promote career opportunities, HOSA activities reinforce classroom instruction and connect students with the health care community. Advisors for the ASCC HOSA chapter are American Samoa Area Health Education Center (ASAHEC) program director Ms. Sailitafā Samoa, Nursing Department chairperson Ms. Lele Ah Mu, and Health and Human Services chairperson Dr. Daniel Chang.
With the end of September designated as Health Professions Week, ASAHEC and HOSA took the opportunity to promote health careers by holding free blood pressure and healthy weight screenings on the ASCC campus for several days. ASAHEC and ASCC HOSA also partnered with the local Medical Reserve Corps under the Department of Health to promote emergency preparedness. Ms. Samoa stated that in the coming year the ASCC HOSA chapter will participate in many fundraising activities, community service and professional development activities, and that there will be opportunities for members to attend several scheduled HOSA conferences locally and for a few off island. “One of the officers, Gracechelle Cabalar will have the opportunity to represent ASCC HOSA and serve as an American Samoa State Officer,” explained Ms. Samoa, “and those that attended the National Conference last year found it benefited their healthcare careers.”
Now in its third year as an option for ASCC health students, HOSA has grown steadily in both numbers and internal unity. “Because HOSA’s vision is developing future health professionals, the students are encouraged to grow and learn to take on responsibility sooner than later,” observed Ms. Samoa. “If the student chooses a clinical skill, they will have the appropriate support to perfect those skills, and receive rewards and recognition along the way. They learn on their own and from their peers as well as from healthcare leaders locally and nationally. Students also emerge from the experience more prepared to lead their peers wherever they go in life.”
Ms. Samoa strongly advocates classroom instruction combined with the kind of firsthand experience students can get through participating in volunteer organizations at their school. “I encourage students to go beyond their comfort zone and be active in a campus organization of their choice,” she said. “It is beneficial, but one does not know the benefits until they make that commitment and be involved. We in healthcare also need the help of parents. They are the first teachers and children value the careers their parents talk to them about. I would urge parents to talk to their children about being a healthcare person in the future and help them study in elementary school to be strong in English, Math and Science. As an advisor I look forward to answering any questions parents may have about the healthcare field and HOSA.”
Several of the new ASCC HOSA officers agreed that their participation in the organization has yielded benefits they would not have otherwise enjoyed. “ASCC HOSA has provided opportunities at the LBJTMC and local healthcare facilities that I would not have had access to,” said newly elected President Sivoki Niumataiwalu. ASCC HOSA has allowed me to also meet healthcare professionals that have had many years of experience and receive their support for today and in the future.” Added Historian/Reporter William Siaki, “ASCC HOSA activities, community service and interacting with other peers interested in healthcare has helped me towards my goal and healthcare career.”
For more information about HOSA activities nationwide, visit the website ww.hosa.org. To find out more about the ASCC chapter of HOSA, contact Ms. Samoa at 699-1587.