Pathmaker Intern Views Health Condition as a Platform, Not a Pit


There’s been a lot of attention given lately, due to the college admissions bribery scandal, to kids who use built-in advantages to gain admission to elite universities. In contrast, the Pathmaker Internship Program at Palomar Health has been mentoring a disadvantaged young adult who was recently admitted to the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy with a $100,000 merit scholarship despite living with a severe genetic condition, Hunter Syndrome, which has required many surgeries and weekly Enzyme replacement therapy.

Hunter Syndrome affects 1 in 150,000 male births and causes abnormalities in the skeleton, heart and respiratory system. Kyle fortunately has an attenuated form that does not affect his brain but it has caused him to develop differently than his peers.

Rather than lament his condition, Kyle says he focuses on what he can do, not what he can’t do. He says Hunter’s has given him opportunities and a platform that he might not have otherwise and allows him to reach people in unique ways.

Kyle says he became interested in the field of healthcare at the age of 10 as a result of spending so much time receiving treatment. After graduating from University City High School, Kyle pursued his two passions, healthcare and business, while attending UCSD. At UCSD, Kyle was admitted to Palomar Health’s Pathmaker Internship Program. Although most interns follow a clinical path, Kyle has followed an administrative path working in business development, marketing and now human resources. Kyle says he chose a management path at Pathmaker’s because he wants to affect healthcare change on a systematic level.

Kyle believes as a person who has experienced health care delivery on many levels, he has a unique insight into how the system can be improved and healthcare delivery can be more patient-centric.

His passion for business developed as he helped his father with the family flooring business growing up. Kyle says his best asset was helping with marketing.

When it came time to choose a graduate school program, Kyle’s mentor, Tri-City Medical Center’s Chief External Affairs Officer Aaron Byzak helped Kyle decide to apply to the country’s top healthcare graduate programs. He was admitted to the University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, Cornell, Yale and USC, ultimately choosing USC recently.

Kyle will soon be leaving the Pathmaker Internship Program as he will be graduating with a B.S. in Public Health and a minor in Business from UCSD on June 15.

Congratulations Kyle!

Photo caption: Kyle Underwood is leveraging his experience as a Palomar Health Pathmaker intern to prepare for what he hopes is a future in healthcare leadership.

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