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Dear Community - 
How can I best encapsulate 2020?  To say that it has been a year of unprecedented challenges would be a profound understatement.  We welcomed 2020 with great anticipation because it marked the significant milestone of our 20th Anniversary, and we had a number of celebratory activities planned. Then, of course, the pandemic hit and our lives changed dramatically.
The abrupt closures of schools and health organizations last spring forced us to pivot our work in every imaginable way.  Our team needed to respond quickly to ensure that FACES students continued to receive high quality programming and services. I am deeply grateful to our partners and supporters for making this pivot possible. Our school partners immediately worked with us to transition workshops to online formats. Our health industry partners stepped up to help design and implement virtual career exploration and case scenario workshops. We enriched our support efforts and outreach to students with the help of our community, providing resources to bolster their holistic wellness amidst the challenges of the pandemic. We launched our new FACES Youth Advisory Council, adapted our traditional summer medical program into an online format and increased trainings in Mental Health First Aid. 
So yes, while there have been unexpected challenges, 2020 has also been a year of innovation, learning, service and deep gratitude – with so much more possibility on the horizon. Our commitment to youth is unwavering and we will continue to do what is necessary to ensure that our students receive the services they need.
While our in-person anniversary celebration is postponed until a future time, I welcome you to celebrate with us in the meantime and honor the thousands of youth, staff, parents, partners, supporters and allies who over the past 20 years have collectively made FACES what it is – a best practice model for youth health career development! 
And to end, I ask that you please consider an end of year DONATION to the FACES Coalition so that we can continue to do the necessary work for our children.  Every dollar helps, especially during these challenging economic times.
Wishing you all health, safety, peace and calm during this holiday season,
FACES is excited to announce the establishment of a new program at Public Health Institute, Cypress Resilience Project. Under Program Director Brooke Briggance, Cypress Resilience Project provides Mental Health First Aid training and certification as well as trauma informed systems and grief recovery classes to our community. Brooke first became interested in the work through her role as FACES Deputy Director, while supporting FACES youth. Too often, individuals and systems were unable to support young people managing challenging life experiences. In response, FACES began offering training to our community at large. In fact, you may have seen Mental Health First Aid workshops offered in previous FACES newsletters and on the FACES website. Now, we are pleased to introduce Cypress Resilience Project as its own entity! You can visit to learn more about this work and upcoming trainings.
This year, FACES for the Future Coalition established a FACES Youth Advisory Council in celebration of our 20th Anniversary! We are excited to welcome our inaugural cohort of council members – a diverse group of students and alumni representing program locations across California, as well as in Albuquerque, NM and Denver, CO. The FACES Youth Advisory Council is comprised of current FACES high school students, alumni enrolled in college, and ambitious young professionals. Each year, we will select a new cohort of council members. Their unique perspectives will ensure that FACES continues to be innovative and responsive to the needs of youth in our communities for another 20 years to come.
In Spring, 2020, FACES was set to pilot an internship and job-shadowing program in partnership with UCSF Pediatric Residents. When schools closed, the amazing team at UCSF helped us pivot this programming – coming up with a series of virtual workshops open to FACES students nationwide! Workshops were attended by 150+ FACES students and included a UCSF career panel, an interactive session using real-life medical case scenarios, a COVID-19 Q&A, and a Self Care Workshop. The FACES Team is grateful to the UCSF Pediatric Residents and staff who are helping to plan and implement these wonderful virtual pipeline events for the FACES Program!
This summer, the FACES Summer Medical Academy, a 2-week program traditionally held onsite at Samuel Merritt University in Oakland, was offered via Zoom. Students participated in many of the usual program activities, including workshops on public health and mental health as well as clinical skills practice like splinting, vitals, pathology, suturing and CPR. A big thank you to the guest presenters, clinicians and team that made our first virtual FSMA a success!
In addition, the FACES Summer Credit Recovery Program in partnership with San Lorenzo Unified School District, led by FACES Program Coordinator Reatha Conn, was also hosted online. Students from San Lorenzo and Arroyo HS received mentorship from health professionals, and participated in a series of public health workshops that culminated in capstone presentations about the health issues impacting their communities.
Have you ever wondered how health professionals practice patient interactions before doing it in real life? FACES students in the Psychology course at Encinal High School got an in-depth look during the 3rd round of FACES Innovations in Simulation. Through this unique partnership with the Physician Assistant Program at Samuel Merritt University (SMU), FACES students had the opportunity to learn about mental health diagnoses, research and write their own case scenarios from the adolescent perspective, and receive training to act as standardized patients (actors used in patient simulations). The program culminated in a series of simulated telehealth visits – in which FACES students acted out mental health case scenarios to help SMU Physician Assistant students practice the art of interacting with teenaged patients. 
We are thrilled to welcome MORGAN STEIN, our FACES program coordinator for Albuquerque, New Mexico. Morgan is passionate about working with young people and helping them reach their goals. As a recent college graduate and former pre-med student she recognizes the importance of programs like FACES in providing access to individuals interested in pursuing health care careers. Aside from her work at PHI Morgan works as an Emergency Medical Technician at a local urgent care and as a research assistant for the University of New Mexico College of Public Health. She also volunteers as a hotline advocate for the Rape Crisis Center of Central New Mexico and for the Crisis Text line. Morgan graduated from Oberlin College with a B.A. in Biology and Environmental Studies. She is passionate about work that builds equitable, healthy and just communities.
We are excited to formally welcome KARINA DE LEON M. to the FACES for the Future Team! We first met Karina when she served as our Summer 2019 Health Career Connections intern – she did an amazing job helping us to plan and implement the FACES Summer Medical Academy. After joining our team as Program Assistant this year, Karina has assisted FACES with special projects, data collection and alumni engagement. Karina holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from UC Santa Cruz. She is a passionate advocate for underserved communities and is deeply committed to FACES’ mission of diversifying the health professions.
A belated welcome to VERONICA MIDDLEBROOKS, who has been working with the San Diego Program as Project Specialist for FACES for the Future at Crawford High School. Veronica obtained her bachelor’s degree in Biology and completed a Certificate in Community Leadership and Public Service from Iowa State University. Veronica has studied Global Leadership and Women and Gender Studies at Södertörn University. She has a wealth of experience educating and mentoring youth, as well as leading professional development teams. In addition, she is knowledgeable in management of healthcare systems and the role of ethics, prevention education, and health promotion within communities. We are grateful for Veronica’s contributions to the FACES San Diego program.
FACES San Diego also welcomes DR. SHANNON GARCIA, lead learner at Kearny's School of Biomedical Science and Technology (BST). Dr. Garcia has been an education administrator since 2010 and is a real-world Malcolm Gladwell "Connector." A passionate supporter of community partnerships, Dr. Shannon brings career awareness and real-world experience to students through strategic partnerships and a team of talented educators. To that end, she is excited to support Kearny BST's FACES program in bringing medical career internships to Kearny BST students through a collaboration with San Diego Unified, Kearny BST, and Rady's Children's Hospital. Throughout her career, Shannon has helped students find their passion in life, and in 2018, launched a purpose-identifying curriculum partnership with Stedman Graham's Community Alliance for Youth Success (CAYS), which will be imbedded in the Kearny BST FACES program. Through BST's work with CAYS and FACES, Dr. Shannon and her spectacular team of innovative teachers are helping their students align their strengths, values, and interests to help them identify their passions - and a viable, rewarding future career choice. Dr. Shannon couldn't ask for a more rewarding career choice herself. Go, Komets!
DONNY TENORIO has joined the FACES San Diego Team as Work Based Learning Coordinator at Kearny High School. His role involves helping students leave high school career or college ready. He received his Master's Degree in Educational Leadership and his Administrative Services credential from San Diego State University. He received his B.A. in History from University of California San Diego. He has worked in San Diego Unified School District since 2009 where he has taught high school Social Studies and served as a middle school Vice Principal for 3 years before accepting his current position at Kearny High. Donny loves helping students find their passion and helping them channel their energy toward finding a rewarding career.  
The Public Health Institute (PHI) is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting health, well-being and quality of life throughout California, across the nation and around the world. For more information about PHI programs, visit or contact PHI communications at
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