Premier Health Launches Inaugural Orthopedics Externship for Minority High School Students

Premier Pulse     September 2021

Premier Health and Premier Orthopedics have launched a high school orthopedic externship program to introduce students to the medical field at an early age. Through a partnership with local school districts, the health system is connecting minority and female high school students with valuable orthopedics and sports medicine opportunities.

“Developing this program has been something I’ve always wanted to do,” said Michael Herbenick, MD, a board-certified and fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon at Premier Orthopedics. “Patients want to be seen by someone who looks like them, talks like them, and acts like them. This program’s goal is to bridge that gap and introduce more minorities and females to medicine.”

The week-long program at Miami Valley Hospital South offered students hands-on experience through skill labs, including joint replacement; suture; sports medicine and arthroscopy; and bone sawing workshops. Students also participated in job shadowing opportunities with practicing physicians and surgeons at Premier Health.

“Providing mentors to teenagers interested in medicine is incredibly important,” said Louis Okafor, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at Premier Orthopedics at Miami Valley Hospital South. “I am proud our health system is helping the next generation by offering real-world experiences at a young age.”

Students also had the opportunity to view orthopedic surgeries, giving them an up-close look at how surgical procedures are performed and how providers interact with their patients.

“The students said they had never been in a health care setting before,” said Jennifer Jerele, MD, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon who is fellowship trained in orthopedic trauma care at Miami Valley Hospital. “Providing this opportunity gave them the chance to see what takes place in a hospital, operating room, or doctor’s office on a daily basis.”

Students from Dayton Public Schools received internship credit hours for their participation in the externship program.

 “There is no better feeling than getting to share your passion with someone and getting them excited about it as well,” said Dr. Jerele.

Plans are already in the works for next summer’s orthopedics externship program. To inquire more about the program, or to nominate a student for upcoming orthopedic externships, contact Dr. Herbenick at

Back to the September 2021 issue of Premier Pulse

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