Jeanette Johnson gets healthcare experience through HIS Pathways program

September 19, 2016


Thomas R. Throssell

Gila River Indian News


A self described sports and Harry Potter fan, Gila River Indian Community member Jeanette Johnson enjoys spending her leisure time reading Harry Potter books and watching the Arizona State University Sun Devil football team squash their opponents.


But while Johnson’s hobbies may include reading about the fantastical stories of Harry Potter and reveling in the competitive action of college football, her real passion lies in the healthcare industry and giving back to the Native community.


Johnson, a junior at ASU with a major in Health Sciences, recently interned at the Phoenix Indian Medical Center (PIMC) through Indian Health Services’ Pathways Internship Program.


The program’s purpose is to help give students, of various educational backgrounds, the opportunity to work in different federal agencies, while at the same time, learning more about federal careers. Students who complete the internship may even be eligible for a permanent federal job.


According to the IHS, the Pathways Internship program gives Native youth the work experience needed to apply for entry-level jobs in the federal workforce. In order to garner this experience, interns must complete at least 640 hours of work.


“The Pathways program gave me experience that enhances my desire to work for IHS,” said Johnson. “It’s an amazing program that allows high school and college students to have the opportunity to get their feet wet within the healthcare industry and get paid for it.”


“My experience with the Pathways program has been truly amazing,” said Johnson. “This program has given me the opportunity to come and see how a hospital works.”


Johnson said that the internship at PIMC allowed her to learn new skills, meet with and get to know many experts, and narrow-down what she wants to do with her career, which is to become a pharmacist or physician’s assistant.


But moving her career forward isn’t her only intention; there is also an altruistic motive as well.


“I would like to work for IHS, particularly at the Phoenix Indian Medical Center. I have been coming to this hospital for many years as a patient. I want to give back and help others as others have helped me at this hospital.”


Johnson believes that her drive towards a higher education and getting involved with the healthcare industry will not only show her own family that they too can achieve their goals, but it will also inspire Community members to move forward with their own education.


“My words to a fellow Community member or anybody else who is thinking about pursuing higher education would be [to] do it and don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t,” said Johnson. “You don’t have to be a certain age or super smart to pursue higher education. I believe that you need to have determination to see it through,” she said.


“My determination is knowing that I want to become a healthcare provider. I’m also driven to show my niece and nephew that they too can dream big and accomplish their goals,” said Johnson.