First graduates from health sciences charter school earn their white coats

Families filled the USF College of Public Health auditorium earlier this month, eager to see their second-graders walk across the stage to receive their first white coat as part of graduation from King’s Kids Academy of Health Sciences (KKAHS).


The young learners are the inaugural class for the newly formed charter school, which places an emphasis on health sciences and is helping build a pipeline for healthcare professionals who will help ease the shortage of healthcare providers, especially minority professionals.

The school, which started with kindergarten, first and second grade and targets underserved low-income school-age students of the East Tampa area, had a successful first year, said Maria Stroud, director of KKAHS.

Lennox Hoyte, MD, associate professor in USF’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Morsani College of Medicine, acts as a mentor to the program and, on graduation day, congratulated the graduates on their accomplishment, giving them words of support as they move forward.


USF supports the school with faculty and students, who help coordinate mentors and /or tutors, plug into the school as guest speakers, help on career days, offer support for various science and health projects, etc.

And hopefully inspire students to consider health careers.


KKAHS Principal Maria Stroud helps put a white coat on Thomas Scott, who was instrumental in helping start the school when he was on the Tampa City Council.


Dr. Lennox Hoyte (left) with KKAHS Principal Maria Stoud.