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Mass General Brigham Announces $25 million in New Funding for Scholars Program

10/14/2021 | 10:05am EST

An ongoing investment to support academic success and career growth in our local communities

Boston, MA, Oct. 14, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Mass General Brigham today announced $25 million in new funding for its Scholars Program and a commitment to extend the successful program for another ten years. The program, which was launched in 2012, was created to expand the horizons of young people interested in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Mass General Brigham Scholars aims to help students from the greater Boston area succeed over the course of their educational career and beyond, promoting careers through mentorship, and investment in the future of these students. 

“Over the course of the last decade, this program has not only made a lasting impact on the lives of thousands of students and their families in the communities we serve but has created an important diverse pipeline for our workforce,” said Elsie Taveras, MD, MPH, Chief Community Health Equity Officer for Mass General Brigham. “Research shows that educational attainment is highly correlated with economic status and is the largest predictor of health status. These continued supports have proved particularly helpful for students who face institutional barriers and experience systemic forms of discrimination because of their race, ethnicity, or economic background.”

The Scholars program is part of Mass General Brigham’s overall commitment to working with its communities to promote economic opportunity and better health. Students are offered ongoing, holistic support throughout the school year that focuses on both their current academic success as well as future academic and career goals. The program offers tutoring and college prep, coaching for things like interviews, guided tours of colleges and trade schools, professional mentors, hands-on learning at our hospitals, as well as internships. 

These internships, offered to high school students year-round and to college students during the summer, are a critical component of the Scholar’s experience. Each year, students are provided with paid internships related to their majors and career interests. The Scholars have worked in over 60 different departments across the system, representing everything from patient care, to materials management, clinical administration, and even research labs. Several students have served as co-authors on research studies they worked on during their internships. As part of the program, students also have opportunities to engage in networking and career exploration events with Mass General Brigham employees and leadership teams.

The Mass General Brigham continuum of youth programs supports over 2,000 students from middle school through college each year. Since 2013, an average of 98% of students have matriculated into college after graduating from high school. The students—who hail from nearly two dozen different Boston-area schools—overwhelmingly represent diverse communities. In 2020, 77% of students came from low-income families, 69% were female, 58% spoke a first language other than English, and 61% were first generation college students. 

In order to better connect with the community, Mass General Brigham works with local partners such as East Boston High School, Edward M. Kennedy Academy for Health Careers, Revere and Chelsea high schools, the Charlestown community, and Becoming A Man (BAM) to connect with interested student candidates. RonAsia Rouse, MPH, Program Manager for Health Equity at Mass General Brigham, participated in the Scholars program through Brigham and Women’s Hospital more than a decade ago. After graduating from University of Massachusetts Amherst with a Bachelor of Science in Public Health, she went on to obtain her Masters in Public Health from George Washington University. She now works on the Community Health and Health Equity team to operationalize programs that support patients and community members in vulnerable communities. 

“The Scholars Program exposed me to careers beyond traditional clinical roles and propelled me into a career in community health,” she says. “Through the program, I have had the opportunity to experience a variety of roles within a healthcare system and gain experience in public health that ultimately help me decide on my career path. From my first internship experience in the Operating Room and now 10 years later as Program Manager, I am grateful for the experience and opportunities the program has provided me.”

This past year, in addition to helping students navigate SATs, college applications, and the rigor of student’s first college classes, the Mass General Brigham Scholars program also helped students navigate the uncertainty of remote learning during COVID. The Scholars program offered critical supports for students trying to succeed where there was no roadmap. Not only did the program offer access to laptops, they also continued to offer weekly programming as a way to check-in on students’ wellbeing. These weekly meetings served as a safe and supportive space to express complex emotions and get connected with mental health professionals. There was also the opportunity to connect with social workers for students experiencing things like housing or food insecurity.

Atiyah Adams, a current Scholars student in the Class of 2023, first connected with Mass General Brigham in middle school. Over time, she’s seen the depth and breadth that our continuum of youth programs has to offer. 

“When I first joined the Mass General Hospital Science Fair program in 7th grade, I remember our trips to the hospital every Friday would be the highlight of my week. We were able to explore the different parts of the hospital and learn so much with our mentors. After completing that program, I was able to sign up for the Scholars program through Mass General Hospital,” she says.  “The Scholars Program has exposed me to many different career paths and so many new opportunities. I’ve met so many amazing people that have taught me so much about the medical field and what it takes to get to their positions. I’ve even been able to make friendships with some of the other scholars and they’ve also helped me find opportunities.” 

About Mass General Brigham
Mass General Brigham is an integrated academic healthcare system, uniting great minds in medicine to make life-changing impact for patients in our communities and people around the world. Mass General Brigham connects a full continuum of care across a system of academic medical centers, community and specialty hospitals, a health insurance plan, physician networks, community health centers, home care, and long-term care services. Mass General Brigham is a non-profit organization that is committed to patient care, research, teaching, and service to the community. In addition, Mass General Brigham is one of the nation’s leading biomedical research organizations and a principal teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. For more information, please visit massgeneralbrigham.org.

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