Viera High student takes important first step in medical field


Lorissa Johnson, a student at Viera High School, was a delegate to the Congress of Future Medical Leaders.Incoming Viera High School sophomore Lorissa Johnson may have a long way to go for her dream job as a pediatric oncologist, but she has taken an important first step.

Johnson served as a delegate to the Congress of Future Medical Leaders held June 25 to 27 in Lowell, Mass. The program is aimed at top high school students who want to become physicians or medical researchers. All participants must have a 3.5 or higher grade point average.

The purpose of the event is to “honor, inspire, motivate and direct the top students in the country … to stay true to their dream and, after the event, to provide a path, plan and resources to help them reach their goal.”

Johnson was nominated to represent Florida by Dr. Robert Darling, medical director of the National Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Scientists. She was chosen based on academic achievement, leadership potential and determination to serve humanity in the field of medicine, according to a press release.

During the event, Johnson:

  • heard presentations on leading medical research by Nobel Laureates and National Medal of Science winners.
  • received advice from Ivy League top medical school deans about what medical school will be like.
  • heard first-hand accounts by patients who are living medical miracles.
  • was inspired by fellow teen medical science prodigies.
  • learned about cutting-edge advances and the future in medicine and medical technology.

“It was really motivational and inspiring to have us carry on in the field. We also got to do things like watch a live surgery on the screen. It was really cool,’’ she said.

There were 5,000 delegates and each could bring a parent, she said.

“I thought it was like the best days of my life and it really ensures my wanting to be in the medical field. It really motivated me to push harder to do that. I want to be either a pediatric oncologist or a nurse,’’ she said.

Added Richard Rossi, executive director, National Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Scientists: “This is a crucial time in America when we need more doctors and medical scientists who are even better prepared for a future that is changing exponentially. Focused, bright and determined students like Lorissa Johnson are our future and she deserves all the mentoring and guidance we can give her.’’

The academy offers free services and programs to help with college acceptance and finances, internships and career guidance.

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