Meet West’s Future Health Experts!


Art/Photo by Allyson Mukai

Both Future Health Professionals (HOSA) and American Red Cross are designed to aid students hoping to go into medical fields by providing education and activities. People like Catbagan and our community servers are proof of those efforts.

Sophia Yoshimura, Staff Writer

   Say hello to Future Health Professionals (HOSA) and the American Red Cross!

   HOSA is a club for those looking to work in health care. Some notable fields that the club covers include the veterinary field, nursing, and epidemiology. HOSA offers learning opportunities through hands-on experiences. Ryan Lee (11), the club’s president, stated, “We have all of those events that you can actually compete in and learn about.” Lee described the club as a mix of activity and education, but that can vary depending on the subfield. Epidemiology, for example, “is going to be mostly study based, because [it involves] graphs and statistics of different diseases.” CPR and types of nursing mainly consist of hands-on activities.

   It can be scary to enter the medical world, but Lee encouraged people to try. To him,  medical work is something anyone can do: “It’s a broad spectrum. The medical field takes a lot of time, but if you enjoy it it feels like nothing.” Even pre-COVID, health care professions are some of the most important and respected in the world. In its first year at West, HOSA is off to a promising start!

   Michelle Catbagan, a nurse of 18 years at Torrance Memorial, commented on her experience on-floor as she works in women’s service. To her, it’s stressful but worth it: “You can’t get comfortable, because you always anticipate that it’s going to be a bad delivery. That way, when it comes out good, you feel okay and everything went fine.” Catbagan always enjoyed science, particularly anatomy, physiology, and biology. She was driven to health care by her interests, and ended up in nursing. Over time, she has found that “the biggest pro is the euphoria you get when something goes right, and the con is that when something goes bad, it’s pretty bad. But I would do this job over and over again because the pros outweigh the negatives.” As a health professional some may look to be, Catbagan hopes her experience can motivate those hoping to become one as well.

   Similar to HOSA, the American Red Cross club offers many learning opportunities to those looking for medical training and experience. The president of Red Cross, Kathy Nguyen (12), described their variety in activities. A major endeavor of the club is “spreading awareness to different subjects that people deserve to know about, or whether we directly take action: like people’s blood drives [at] school, fundraisers, or food drives.”

   But that’s not all! The Red Cross club also offers community service opportunities. Being a part of this club can help you gain experience and certification for the future when applying for college and jobs. Nguyen explained that the club focuses on community service and volunteer work more than anything else. Not only does Red Cross offer community service, but you can also “learn more about the communities that you’re helping, and you’re directly taking action to help others.”

   Both American Red Cross and HOSA seek to help their members prepare for future health ambitions. Lee’s first interaction with the medical field as a freshman led him to become the president of HOSA, and with his medical knowledge, Lee hopes to become a pediatrician or surgeon in the future. Nguyen was also introduced as a freshman, and from then on became inspired to help others and make an impact. She appreciates any work that supports their mission statement: “Save each life ― every life matters.”