LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)- Health care is a major industry here in Acadiana.
In Lafayette alone, the health care industry employed 29,200 people in 2017, folks like Eric Meyers, a flight paramedic, whose been in the business for 11 years.
“I went to the ER and saw the ambulances coming in and out. There was blood and bones and all kind of stuff. It was like, that’s what I want to do. It kind of clicked,” Meyers said.
But statewide, Louisiana is falling behind in terms of health care.
According to the U.S. News & World Report’s latest nationwide study, Louisiana is ranked 37th out of 50 states in health care access, 48th in health care quality and 44th in public health.
But there’s a slew of passionate young people interviewed by New 10 who say they’re hopeful their generation can turn the health care industry around.
“I know the job outlooks are increasing. The requirements in any profession you want to go in to are increasing as well,” said Kaylee Carlone, president of Louisiana HOSA.
Carlone and president-elect Peyton Pipher are the leaders of Louisiana HOSA or Health Occupations Students of America.
The organization is for students who plan on going into the health care industry.
“We’re the future and we’re not going to let our state go down the drain,” Pipher said. “We network with people from across the country. People get internships at the office of the us surgeon general and you just start and you keep building. It all starts with HOSA, which is heartwarming to know our organization is doing this.”
Earlier this year, Carlone and Pipher organized the statewide HOSA conference in Lafayette.
Meyers was one of the professional mentors.
“They were just throwing questions at us. By the end of that almost all of them wanted to become paramedics,” Meyers. “It’s a good feeling because you can share your experiences, shed a little bit of light on a dark situation.”
Carlone says she hopes to be a physician assistant and Pipher wants to work in public health.
And they say they’re not discouraged but motivated to revamp the health care industry.
“As long as the education requirements are increasing and people actually are motivated to make a difference then we will be fine,” said Carlone.
“We’re going to be the change,” Pipher said. “If our leaders today don’t do something with our health care system i truly believe my peers and I will be the change.”