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In This Issue:
Taija Martin, a high school senior and participant in the BWH Student Success Jobs Program (SSJP), knows a thing or two about overcoming adversity.
Last year, her family suffered financial difficulties, which led to their Dorchester home being foreclosed. Even as her family faced potential homelessness, Martin maintained her academic standing on the honor roll at Edward M. Kennedy Academy for Health Careers and continued to exhibit an excellent work ethic in the SSJP.
“I have been blessed to have such committed and devoted mentors within the departments I’ve worked in at the Brigham,” said Martin, who now lives in a Roslindale apartment with her mother and sister. “Being part of the SSJP has saved me from many other paths in life I could have taken. The program has instilled values in me that will always remain present, and my science and mathematics grades have been strengthened since my entry to the program.”
To help students like Martin succeed in their dreams of pursuing a career in health care, Partners HealthCare and its founding hospitals – BWH and Massachusetts General Hospital – are making a new, long-term commitment to provide college scholarships to more than 400 students participating in the hospitals’ youth achievement programs. These students aspire to academic success and are interested in careers in health and science. This $10 million investment includes annual scholarships and services like tutoring, mentoring, internships, financial counseling and college preparation and transition support to ensure students graduate high school and college.
This investment builds upon the long-standing and effective work of the youth achievement programs already in place at the hospitals.
“Educational and economic opportunities are vital to building healthier communities and are a core part of Partners’ mission to improve community health,” said Gary Gottlieb, MD, president and CEO of Partners HealthCare. “These new scholarships are inspired by and build upon the incredible work being done in our hospital youth programs.”
At BWH, 75 Boston public high school students are currently enrolled in the SSJP, which provides intensive year-round employment, mentoring and an introduction to careers in health, science and medicine.
“In the 12 years since the SSJP was established at the Brigham, talented and motivated Boston Public School students have been contributing to the fields of health care and science,” said BW/F President Betsy Nabel, MD. “The program has transformed the lives of all who have participated. However, the socio-economic challenges students continue to face in achieving their goals are significant, which make this multi-year commitment so important.”
A recent study by Boston’s Private Industry Council (PIC) of city graduates found that less than half who enrolled in college had completed a two- or four-year degree. The reasons were complex and included lack of financial security, as well as peer, academic and social integration issues on campus.
The scholarship program will provide this year’s 26 SSJP high school seniors the opportunity to become an SSJP Scholar and receive up to $5,000 per year for four years of college, depending on merit and need. Engagement with the students will continue throughout their college years to ensure they succeed and graduate.
“These opportunities for young people are so important for our city,” said Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino. “Employers like these committed institutions offer a deep resource for the young people of Boston, and these students in turn help these hospitals create a diverse, knowledgeable and committed workforce.”
For Martin, the SSJP Scholar program and other assistance enable her to matriculate to Framingham State University this fall, where she will major in psychology with a focus on human and cognitive behavior.
“Without the help of the SSJP scholarship, I would not have been able to pay for higher education,” she said. “My mother and I would have to take out excess loans and would be under considerable financial pressure to have enough money for even the most affordable institution. I am especially grateful for the SSJP for having faith in me and allowing me to further expand my horizons.”