November 9, 2023—(BRONX, N.Y.)—Albert Einstein College of Medicine has received a $3.25 million grant to expand and restructure its longstanding Bronx Health Opportunities Partnership-Einstein (Bronx HOPE) program which aims to help students from economically and socially disadvantaged backgrounds enter careers in health and medicine.
The Health Resources & Services Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, awarded the five-year grant to Einstein’s office of diversity and inclusion and the department of family and social medicine. The project’s co-directors are Lynne Holden, M.D., senior associate dean for diversity and inclusion and professor of emergency medicine at Einstein and an emergency medicine physician at Montefiore Health System, and Juan Robles, M.D. ’11, associate professor of family and social medicine at Einstein and a primary care physician at Montefiore.
“This award enables us to establish new programs, increase the number of high school and college students we reach, and expand and deepen our partnerships with local, state, and national institutions that are focused on creating a more diverse medical and health professions workforce,” said Dr. Holden. “We are building on the considerable track record of our existing health career pathway programs and collaborations to ensure that more young people, particularly in our home borough of the Bronx, have the opportunity to become physicians, nurses, researchers, and other health professionals.”
As part of the grant, Bronx HOPE will serve as a new National Health Careers Opportunity Program (HCOP) Academy and will become a member of a consortium composed of fifteen academic institutions and non-profit organizations that offer several pathway programs with stipends, academic enrichment and support, and mentoring for high school, undergraduate, and post-baccalaureate students. The goal is to reach at least 9,000 young people over the course of the grant.
We are building on the considerable track record of our existing health career pathway programs and collaborations to ensure that more young people, particularly in our home borough of the Bronx, have the opportunity to become physicians, nurses, researchers, and other health professionals.
Lynne Holden, M.D.
Among the initiatives the grant supports are:
- A new Bronx HOPE Ambassadors program, in collaboration with Fordham University, for 30 underrepresented high school juniors, seniors, and college undergraduates. The program includes academic enrichment, service-learning experiences, clinical training, and internships to help students develop skills required to enter medical and health professions schools.
- Summer programs for undergraduate students that offer mentoring, exposure to clinical care through physician shadowing at Montefiore clinics, leadership development, and research opportunities at Einstein labs. Among the summer programs that will continue under the program are Einstein’s Summer Undergraduate Mentorship Program (SUMP) and the Montefiore Health Opportunities Program (MonteHOP), both for college students interested in health and medical professions
- Post-baccalaureate enrichment and preparatory programs with City College of New York and the Associated Medical Schools of New York, which provide training each year for five medical school applicants with a conditional acceptance to Einstein.
- An Einstein pre-orientation program and retreat that provides mentoring to incoming students and helps them improve their study strategies and enhance their test-taking skills.
- The Black and Latino Men in Medicine and Science Sunday Program for 25 high school students who will learn anatomy, physiology, and pathology of human organ systems, along with EMT training, opioid overdose prevention methods, and dissection and suturing techniques. The program is recruiting from eight Bronx high schools, including four all-male schools.
Program leaders noted that admissions in health profession schools for groups historically underrepresented in science and medicine have remained flat in New York State for nearly 10 years.
“The stipends, counseling, and enrichment programs for these young people are essential to strengthening our borough’s educational and support infrastructure so we can ensure the next generation of health professionals is diverse and culturally competent,” said Dr. Robles, who in 2014 founded Bronx Community Health Leaders (BxCHL), a pre-medical mentorship program that will be part of the new HCOP academy. Since its founding, at least 76 of 168 BxCHL participants advanced into health professions schools, including 39 who were directly accepted to medical school after finishing the program.
Bronx HOPE was established in 1999 by Alvin ‘Hal’ Strelnick, M.D., associate dean for community engagement at Einstein and professor and chief of community health in the department of family and social medicine at Einstein and Montefiore. While initially named Bronx Science and Health Opportunities Partnership, it was renamed Bronx HOPE in 2015 in honor of Hope Spano, a longtime and dedicated member of the program’s administration.