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Hofstra Northwell Pipeline Program Boosts Big Dreams for Deserving Students

2017 MSPP participants receive certificates of completion.

The Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine marked the completion of its eighth Medical Scholars Pipeline Program (MSPP) at a spirited closing ceremony held on Thursday, July 20, 2017.  The MSPP is a four-week, three-year summertime initiative designed to expose high-achieving minority students to careers in the health profession.

This year’s program comprised of nearly 60 students from underserved areas in Queens, Long Island, and Manhattan, including a successful MSPP launch at Northwell Health’s Lenox Hill Hospital.

“The students were wonderful and so excited to be in the program,” said Jill Kalman, MD, medical director and spearhead of the MSPP at Lenox Hill. “We are extremely grateful that the MSPP has expanded to Lenox Hill, the first hospital in the Northwell health system to have the program.”

School of Medicine closing festivities for MSPP 2017 featured an inspiring keynote address by physician and author, Harold Fernandez, MD, professor of cardiovascular and thoracic surgery at the School of Medicine. In his speech, Dr. Fernandez recounted his epic journey at age 13 to the United States from Colombia by boat through the treacherous waters of the Bermuda Triangle.

“The main purpose of a program like this is for all of you to believe that you can make your dreams happen,” said Dr. Fernandez, a top graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Medical School. “You become who you believe you can become.”

Generous donor support totaling more than $100,000 this year allowed MSPP students to participate in a variety of 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.  On campus, the young scholars took part in interactive lectures with medical school faculty and Northwell physicians; studied techniques, tools, and approaches to patient care; and made critical connections with mentors in various professions. First-year participants also obtained CPR/AED certification, while high school junior and senior students received academic assistance from a professional college consultant and completed P/SAT test prep courses. Rising college freshmen rounded out their MSPP experience by completing a Mini Medical School based on Hofstra Northwell’s innovative curriculum called Patient Explorations in Active Learning Reason and Synthesis (PEARLS), a student-driven class that uses problem- and case-based learning scenarios as a forum for active reasoning, collaboration, and discussion.

“The diversity of the program as well as the commitment of the students, staff, and sponsors resonated with me, I wanted to be a part of it,” said first-time donor Kelli A. Hunter, executive vice president of human resources, Ameriprise Financial, who contributed $17,500 toward advancing the MSPP. “Giving back to the community is very important.”

From classes to the clinic, MSPP students were able to put their newly honed therapeutic skills to the test by serving as volunteers in the PEACE (Patient Engagement and Communication Enhancement) program at the Long Island Jewish Medical Center. They also spent time at Northwell Health’s Monter Cancer Center in a collaborative initiative designed to teach students ways to communicate and connect with patients dealing with chronic illness.

“The best part of being a student in this program is not the medical side but the human side,” said MSPP graduate Carlos Lopez, III, who will begin his college career at New York University. “We have developed strong bonds with our counselors and each other—it has been an incredible journey.”

Eleven MSPP 2017 graduates, many of whom are college scholarship recipients, will be heading off to elite colleges in the fall such as Duke, Hofstra, Stony Brook, and the Macauley Honors Program at the City College of New York.

For more information about the Medical Scholars Pipeline Program, please visit medicine.hofstra.edu  or contact Gina Granger, MA, associate director of special programs, at 516-463-7550.

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