Local High School Students Explore Diverse Healthcare Field at Roswell Park

  • Students from 34 schools took part in Buffalo Healthcare Exploration program
  • The three-week program exposed students to different health-related careers
  • Seven local students won a problem-solving competition

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Sixty-two local high school students participated in a unique career development program at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center this summer. The Buffalo Healthcare Exploration (BHE) program demonstrated to students that it takes a team of people to run a cancer center, and that each professional plays an important role in the patient experience. During the three-week program, they learned from nurses, oncologists and researchers, as well as other experts in different fields such as dietetics, development and planning.

“I learned about so many different clinical and non-clinical careers within the medical field. Many of them I didn’t even know existed,” says Nafisa Shamim, a graduate of the Frederick Law Olmsted High School in Buffalo and one of the participants in this year’s BHE program. “This was a great experience. I would definitely recommend it to other students.”

“This year, students job shadowed doctors, researchers and other healthcare professionals at Roswell Park. They toured a medical device company, the medical campus and a college. They even designed an innovative healthcare solution and presented their findings on the last day of the program,” says Khurshid Guru, MD, Chair of Urology, Director of Robotic Surgery and Director of the Applied Technology Laboratory for Advanced Surgery (ATLAS).

Roswell Park has been committed to exposing students to different career opportunities for years. BHE was launched in 2014 under another name, the Junior Robotic Surgery Challenge (JRSC). The program’s scope has since expanded to reach more students. In addition to teaching students the fundamentals of robot-assisted surgery, the BHE also exposes them to a wide variety of healthcare careers. 

“Our students this summer explored the healthcare field by following a fictional patient through their journey at Roswell Park. By hearing from clinical and nonclinical professionals, students learned about all the different types of people a patient may encounter during their journey. We tried to show students how everyone at the cancer center used their different skill sets to fulfill Roswell Park’s mission and help patients,” says Jenna Bizovi, the Assistant Director of ATLAS.

This year, the participants took part in a competition to see which team could develop a creative problem-solving solution. These students won the Best Team Performance award for their innovative idea:

  • Jasmin Gill (Nardin Academy)
  • Abigail Halsdorfer (Buffalo Academy of the Sacred Heart)
  • Owen Hochmuth (Saint Joseph’s Collegiate Institute)
  • Zahra Husseini (Newcomer Academy at Lafayette)
  • James Oh (Canisius High School)
  • Kristen Rider (Mount St. Mary Academy)
  • Nadia Tomasik (Frontier High School)

Students from 34 different public and private high schools took part in Buffalo Healthcare Exploration 2018. Since the event started in 2014, more than 300 high school students have participated in in this exciting program.

“By the end of the program, it was so exciting to see how much the students had learned,” says Dr. Guru.

Educational partners for the 2018 program were the Albright Knox Art Gallery and the University at Buffalo. Ingram Micro was the Presenting Sponsor. Other generous supporters included the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Say Yes to Education, the Best Buy Foundation and the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation.

For more information about Buffalo Healthcare Exploration, click here.


Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center is a community united by the drive to eliminate cancer’s grip on humanity by unlocking its secrets through personalized approaches and unleashing the healing power of hope. Founded by Dr. Roswell Park in 1898, it is the only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center in Upstate New York. Learn more at www.roswellpark.org, or contact us at 1-800-ROSWELL (1-800-767-9355) or ASKRoswell@RoswellPark.org.


Media Contact

Annie Deck-Miller, Senior Media Relations Manager
716-845-8593; annie.deck-miller@roswellpark.org