Curing the Future of Health Care – FHN Students Earn National Recognition at HOSA Competition

Posted on 08/11/2017
Attendees from FHN at the HOSA State Conference in March

The Health Occupations Students of America is an international student organization that promotes career opportunities in the health care industry, and promotes the delivery of quality health care to all. Just like educators in the Francis Howell School District, HOSA wants the next generation of health industry professionals to be as prepared as possible, and they hold competitions to help develop the skills necessary to treat patients in the 21st century. Three Francis Howell North students did so well at the HOSA competition that they placed in the top ten in the entire United States.

HOSA’s competitive events are designed to provide a system for recognizing the skills and/or knowledge developed by members through instruction in the classroom. Classrooms just like that of 2016-17 FHSD Teacher of the Year Matthew Riffee of FHN. He explained HOSA’s importance to student academic and professional growth, “This is the first opportunity for a student to explore and experience exactly what they would be doing in the health care field prior to entering college or the career field.”

Students can learn a lot about a subject from a book, but they’ll never reach mastery until they practice what they’ve learned. “It’s one thing to know you want to be … let's say a doctor,” Riffee said, “but it's another thing to get to explore the real-life scenarios a doctor would face. Participating in HOSA influences students to interact with other students, as well as industry professionals, to get an inside look at what their future could hold.”

Students learning from Riffee and fellow FHN teacher Dawn Hahn had some outstanding – even nationally recognized – results at the Annual HOSA competition. Juan Alega, Maggie Cox, Erin Stock, and Hannah and Sarah Zimmerman all placed in the top ten of their respective categories. When asked why they were so successful, Riffee immediately gave all the credit to the students, saying their preparation and practice led to success. “These students outsourced assistance from area professionals, job-shadowed, and – in some instances – were trained by professionals.”

While the success of these students at the HOSA competitions is a positive sign for the future of health care, what will truly define the next generation of these services is the attitude and purpose of those who practice it. Part of the lessons learned in this program is that they are treating people – their heart and soul. Being a positive contributor to their community is just as important as contributing to the health field. “We do a lot of community service and field trips to healthcare facilities,” Riffee said, and the main goal is evident. “We try to make everything we do about the people around us.” And that is exactly how we cure the future of health care.

HOSA Competition Results:

Competition Category

Team Members

National Rank


Hannah and Sarah Zimmerman

3rd Place


Juan Alega and Maggie Cox

10th Place

Sports Medicine

Erin Stock

8th Place

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