Nearly 60 high school students from Queens, Nassau and Suffolk counties recently completed a rigorous multi-year, four-week summertime academic program offered by the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell designed to increase the diversity of the healthcare workforce by exposing young scholars to careers in the medical field.
Celebrating its ninth year, the Zucker School of Medicine’s Medical Scholars Pipeline Program (MSPP) takes motivated, high-achieving students from underserved communities and provides mentoring, healthcare skills training and college preparation to support them in the effort to become highly competitive applicants to undergraduate and graduate schools in medicine and other fields. To date, nearly 200 students have enrolled in the MSPP including 100 students who have completed the program. Of the graduates, 100 percent have matriculated into leading universities and beyond, an achievement that includes three MSPP alumni who are now medical students at the Zucker School of Medicine.
“When applying to medical school, I remembered the relationships and nurturing mentors that I gained during my exposure in the pipeline program,” said MSPP graduate and second-year medical student, Britney Nathan, a resident of Hempstead. “I knew that I just could not leave.”
This year’s pipeline program at the Zucker School of Medicine began June 27, 2018, and ended on July 19 with an inspirational closing ceremony featuring keynote speaker, cardiologist Luther T. Clark, MD, deputy chief patient officer, global director, scientific medical and patient perspective and leader of the patient insight’s team at Merck Pharmaceutical. Clark is also a member of the Boulé Foundation, a fraternity for African-American professionals in healthcare and medicine
“Increasing diversity [in medicine] is not only an important key to eliminating inequities in health care among communities of color but also to achieving overall excellence for the greater good,” said Clark in his address to MSPP participants and new graduates. “It is why we need a well-trained, qualified, culturally competent workforce that mirrors the diverse population it serves.”
The Zucker School of Medicine MSPP works collaboratively with the Gateway Institute for Pre-College Education at The City College of New York to recruit and support minority public school students in their higher education and health career goals. The initiative also includes branch programs at Northwell Health’s Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan and Southside Hospital in Bay Shore. For help in keeping the momentum through higher education, the School of Medicine has approximately 20 MSPP alums currently enrolled in The Northeast Regional Alliance (NERA) MedPrep, a free summer enrichment program for under-represented and economically disadvantaged college students interested in the medical field. The Zucker School of Medicine also hosts a summer pre-med Program for college students.
“It’s a privilege to help these deserving young people discover and develop confidence in their potential,” said Gina Granger, program manager for the Medical Science Youth Programs at the Zucker School of Medicine. “From high school to college and career, we offer guidance and support for each step of the journey—and it’s working for our students.”
At the Zucker School of Medicine, generous donor support allows MSPP student to participate in a variety of courses and enrichment activities, including information sessions and campus tours at Hofstra University and Stony Brook University as well as an educational excursion to the Oyster Bay Marine Education Center. First-year participants obtain CPR/AED certification, while high school junior and senior students receive academic assistance from a professional college consultant and complete P/SAT test prep courses. Rising college students round out their MSPP experience by completing a “mini medical school” based on Zucker School of Medicine’s innovative curriculum called Patient Explorations in Active Learning Reason and Synthesis (PEARLS), a student-driven course that uses problem- and case-based learning scenarios as a forum for active reasoning, collaboration and discussion.
Students also spend time serving as volunteers in the PEACE (Patient Engagement and Communication Enhancement) program at Northwell Health-Long Island Jewish Medical Center and participate in an initiative with Northwell’s Monter Cancer Center designed to teach ways to connect and communicate with patients dealing with cancer treatment and chronic illness.
“The lessons I learned will truly last a lifetime. My time as a pipeline student can be compared to that of a good book—I never wanted it to end,” said George Rosario in his moving address as a member of the MSPP Class of 2018. “If we can create more programs like this one, minorities in medicine will not just be a catchy slogan but a movement progressing toward an exciting new future.”
Rosario, a new alumnus of Benjamin Cardozo High School in Bayside, NY, will be attending the CUNY School of Medicine/Sophie Davis Biomedical Education Program this fall along with several MSPP graduates. In fact, all of his 13-member graduating class will head off to college with a combined scholarship tally of nearly $400,000, including two students who received full rides to Yale University and Brooklyn College.
Special thanks to the Pinkerton Foundation, the Shippy Foundation, the Boulé Foundation, New York Smart Set and Dr. Thelma Dye-Holmes for their generous support of the Zucker School of Medicine’s Medical Scholars Pipeline Program.
—Submitted by Hofstra/Northwell