Friday, May 4, 2012

Students, hospitals are great Partners

Boston Herald
Students, hospitals are great Partners
By Christine McConville  |   Friday, May 4, 2012  |  |  Local Coverage

When incomingBoston Collegefreshman Shananssa Percy hits the Heights this fall, the aspiring anesthesiologist will have quite a leg up on her classmates.

For the past four years, she’s been cleaning operating rooms and assisting anesthesiologists at Massachusetts General Hospital as part of the hospital’s Bicentennial Scholar Program.

When she lands at the Chestnut Hill campus this fall, Mass. General’s parent company — Partners HealthCare — will start contributing $5,000 each year toward her tuition bill.

“It’s changed my life,” Percy, 17, said of the mentoring program.

Now that program is poised to change more lives.

Partners CEO Gary Gottlieb said yesterday the hospital system will add another $10 million to the mentoring programs it runs at Mass. General and Brigham and Women’s hospitals.

“These students are our present, and our future,” Gottlieb said as he announced the increased funding at Boston City Hall, with MayorThomas M. Meninoand Schools Superintendent Carol Johnson.

The money will assist 400 Boston-area college students who are pursing careers in health and medicine with tuition assistance, test-taking training and job placement help.

With nearly 50,000 Bostonians working in health care, and with plans for the industry to grow, “it’s in all of our collective self interest to make this happen,” Gottlieb said. “This is not a gift, it’s an investment.”

Partners’ plans brought cheers from cardiac surgeon-turned-malpractice lawyer Domenic Paolini, a proud product of Boston public schools.

“I strongly support any entity that is willing to give people in the Boston public schools a chance to get into the academic world, especially science,” said Paolini, who went from Boston Latin to Boston University, then to Harvard Medical School.

When he was a student, he said, “you could pay for a year of college by working all summer.”

“These days, kids and families need help.”

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