Friday, June 17, 2011

MGH celebrates Bicentennial Scholars

Scholarly smiles: The Bicentennial Scholars with Quinlan, back row, far left; Rebecca Garcia, senior manager of the Bicentennial Scholars, front row, far left; and Christy Egun, director of MGH Boston School Partnerships, front row, second from right

At a June 10 event celebrating the hospital's 200 years of commitment to the community, the MGH introduced 26 local high school students who have been selected as MGH Bicentennial Scholars. The Bicentennial Scholars Program, the hospital's gift to the community in honor of its 200 years, assists students from Boston, Chelsea and Revere in gaining admission to, succeeding at and graduating from college.

The celebration, hosted by the MGH Center for Community Health Improvement (CCHI) in the Bulfinch Tent, highlighted the MGH's past, present and future work to improve the health and well-being of the communities it serves. The program featured the introduction of the MGH Bicentennial Scholars, remarks from guest speakers Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, Massachusetts Department of Public Health Commissioner John Auerbach, MGH President Peter L. Slavin, MD, and CCHI Executive Director Joan Quinlan, and a multimedia retrospective about the MGH's community involvement.

Bicentennial Scholars Ahmed Ahmed of Revere and Maria Rodriquez of East Boston also addressed the audience with personal accounts of their past struggles and new hopes for college and future careers in health care. While 70 percent of Boston high school graduates are admitted to two- or four-year colleges, many have a difficult time graduating. A study by the Private Industry Council indicates that only 35 percent of the Boston Public School class of 2000 had completed college seven years later.

"The MGH created the Bicentennial Scholars Program to be more than a scholarship program," says Quinlan. "In addition to an annual $5,000 scholarship, the students will receive intense college coaching and SAT preparation, as well as continued support after they transition to postsecondary education."

In addition to the main event, morning and afternoon poster sessions displayed 42 examples of current community work by departments across the hospital. For more information about CCHI, visit

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