More than 62 high school students from Queens and Nassau counties recently completed a rigorous and competitive four-week academic program offered by Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine designed to increase diversity of the healthcare workforce by exposing young scholars to various healthcare professions.
Now in its third year, the School of Medicine’s Medical Scholars Pipeline Program takes interested students from underprivileged backgrounds and turns them into competitive future applicants to medical schools and other health-related fields, including medicine, dentistry, nursing and medical technology.
“The Medical Scholars Pipeline Program transforms the lives of high school students by actively engaging them in hands-on exploration of healthcare professions,” says June Scarlett, Dean for Administration and the Director of the program. “Our goal is to inspire them to believe in their own strengths and intelligence, because with that, they can achieve anything.”
This year students from Benjamin Cardoza, Queens Gateway, Francis Lewis and Excelsior Preparatory high schools in Queens County and Uniondale and Hempstead high schools in Nassau County attended classes on a wide range of medical issues. Some students were returning for their second or third years in the program, which first began in 2010. All students are mentored by physicians and other healthcare professionals of the North Shore-LIJ Health System and the School of Medicine.
“Having the potential to become a doctor is one thing, but knowing how to achieve that goal can be a challenge for students who come from educationally or economically disadvantaged environments,” said School of Medicine Dean Dr. Lawrence Smith. “The Pipeline Program provides invaluable knowledge to these students by providing them with experiences and skills that otherwise they might never have.”
Pipeline students are introduced to the clinical, social and political issues facing the health care industry. Learning sessions are delivered on topics ranging from the ethics of medical research, health-care reform, medical imaging, sickle cell anemia, heart disease, pediatrics, diabetes, obstetrics, stress reduction, health literacy and cultural competency.
The first-year students take part in exercises to develop leadership and team-building skills, SAT prep, and CPR training, which gives them vital life-saving skills that are required for any individual entering a health-related field. All students receive a Netbook and access to relevant library resources. Students also receive a stipend to make up for the reduction in potential summer earnings they might otherwise have made. Third-year students completed a clinical rotation at Franklin Hospital, while second year students conducted research projects, working alongside faculty members at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, Long Island Jewish Hospital and the North Shore-LIJ Health System’s Department of Population Health.
The participants rotate through programs held at the School of Medicine, located at Hofstra University, and at various North Shore-LIJ facilities, including its Center for Learning and Innovation and Patient Safety Institute, The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, and hospitals throughout the New York metropolitan area.
Students are selected for this fully-funded program through an application process that includes recommendations from educators at their high schools. Grants have been generously provided by philanthropic sources, including Capital One Bank, the Gateway Institute for Pre-College Education and Uniondale High School.
The Medical Scholars Pipeline Program is a five-year program that begins with rising high school juniors and continues until they reach their junior year in college. The first Pipeline students will reach that five-year mark in 2014.
For more information about the program call Project Coordinator Gina Granger at 516-463-7515.