I have always been proud of the fact that FACES is a “responsive” organization. Our inception evolved in response to youth telling us they needed opportunities for career development and mentorship in healthcare. We respond to community requests for support by partnering with them to develop FACES programs that meet the unique challenges of their youth. And we respond to the national imperative for building a healthcare workforce through the training and empowerment of young people who reflect the diversity of our communities.
The events of the past 18 months have not only magnified the importance of our work but have also tested and fortified our ability to respond to the constantly shifting needs of youth and communities caused by the pandemic.
The pandemic has highlighted the critical importance of building a robust, diverse health workforce that is able to effectively meet the complex medical, behavioral and public health needs of communities dealing with the ravages of a relentless pandemic along with historical health disparities. Our efforts to prepare students for entry into the health professions is now more important than ever.
Moreover, while youth have continued to demonstrate extraordinary resiliency, adaptability and fortitude in the face of tremendous challenges created by the pandemic, they have also been uniquely impacted by the changes that have occurred. The closures of schools, persistent social isolation from their peers, and the pervasive threat of the pandemic have all negatively impacted the emotional, mental and physical wellbeing of young people.
I am proud to share that FACES, true to form, responded to these events by ensuring that our mission and commitments to youth have continued in spite of the tremendous barriers created by the pandemic. We continue to support youth training through innovation and enrichment of our programs. We continue to foster youth wellness through increased emphasis on student support and interventions. And we continue to build the pipeline into health careers through ongoing support of our alumni.
I look forward to sharing some recent highlights of our work and the remarkable young people we are blessed to work with. FACES is comprised of a community of very dedicated, remarkable individuals who care deeply about the mission of our work. I am excited by the possibilities for growth that lie ahead and I hope that you will continue to support our efforts.
Tomás A. Magaña, MD, MA, FAAP
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