On Saturday November 4, 2017, the Pathways students had the opportunity to explore the realities of preparing for and exploring what it feels to be inside an OR (operating room). Led by Beth Cita, MSN, RN (RN-BSN Track Director at Saint Luke's College of Health Sciences), and Sharon White-Lewis, MSN, RN (BSN Track Director at Saint Luke's College of Health Sciences), the workshop focused oncCommon heart attack warning signs; resuscitation; and heart surgery. It was an exciting time for students and parents...and students felt ready to perform surgery!


On Saturday October 14, 2017, the Pathways students had the opportunity to explore the exciting area of Public Health. Bert Malone, public health expert and former employee of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and for the Public Department in Kansas City engaged in discussions on issues affecting the nation, the city and our state. In addition, and joined by Dr. Phil Messner and Mrs. Jean Eckert, our students had the opportunity to engage in an exercise on how a virus spreads and converts itself into a public health issue. The program continues to academically challenge the participants and the response continues to be extremely positive.


The Pathways to Health and Science Education Program (, the College’s first formal initiative in creating a bridge to intentionally transition diverse students into the College officially started on Saturday September 9, 2017. The Pathways Program includes a year-long Academy composed of a series of seven lectures and workshops to participating students; three workshops designed to help parents understand and navigate a variety of aspects regarding college life of their children; a one-on-one mentorship program, where all participating students work and interact with an assigned mentor and experience the excitement and challenges of solving a problem or question in any area of interest; and a closing Science Fest, which will include a full day summer camp experience and closing student symposium.

Twelve students, 6 girls and 6 boys who are attending Missouri and Kansas high schools were accepted into the first cohort of the program. During the orientation session, students and parents were introduced to the faculty of the Pathways Program; to the staff of Saint Luke’s College; and each participant was paired to a mentor who will guide the students in a research project. The inaugural academy session was offered by Carlos Peñaloza, PhD, Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs for metropolitan Community College of Kansas City. Dr. Peñaloza presented the topic “Observe, propose, try, document, conclude and start all over again: the life of a scientist”, where topics such as the scientific method were thoroughly discussed.

Concurrent to the first academy session, the inaugural College-Parent Education Series workshop was offered. Parents of all students attended and actively participated in an open forum session where Dr. Benitez, the College President, spoke on careers and degrees in health sciences; Josh Richards and Veronica Navarro guided parents through the process of admissions; Marcia Ladage, the Dean of Students shared a wonderful first-hand account of life in College and skills for success; and Jennifer Wright, Director of Financial Aid, thoroughly explained the different options for financing an education. At the end of the session, the College was complemented for the quality of the program; for the attention to detail; to the program structure; and most importantly to the value it will bring to student participants.

We have not doubt that this program will create long lasting relationships with students and the schools where they come from; it will instill in students an appreciation for science and careers in health; and enhance the Saint Luke's brand while increasing an awareness of our institution of higher learning. Our College continues to build a bridge to fulfill academic dreams of the future generation.

As always, thank you for believing in Saint Luke’s College of Health Sciences.

Hubert Benitez, DDS, PhD
President and Chief Executive Officer
Barbara Meinke and Robert A. Kleist Endowed Professor

Saint Luke’s College of Health Sciences