The program is funded through a private donation and administered through the Front-Line Indigenous Partnership Program based at the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative based at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Department of Global Health and Population.
A yearlong longitudinal program designed to engage, support, and promote motivated Native American Tribal and/or community college students interested in pursuing a healthcare career, with a program focus on the physician pathway. The program will enroll 8 Native American and Alaskan Native students at Tribal or community colleges. Preference will be given to Tribal college students and those interested in becoming physicians, but applications are also open to Native American community college students and those interested in healthcare careers generally.
The program will provide participants an immersive experience in a wide range of medical specialties, interactive workshops practicing simulation based procedural skills, workshops delineating the roadmap to successfully applying to medical school, and faculty mentorship.
The program includes a 3 week summer program on site in Boston at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and subsequent quarterly virtual group meetings as well as individual virtual meetings with faculty sponsors/mentors for the calendar year of matriculation. The on-site program culminates in a presentation to Harvard Medical School students, staff, and faculty, while the off-site portion culminates with an end of year final reflection paper, certificate of completion, and a letter of recommendation for each participant.
According to the American Medical Association, Native Americans make up 3% of the U.S. population, but only make up .002 % of physicians. Similar disparities are seen in other health careers. Furthermore, only 9% of medical schools have more than 4 Native medical students, and 43% have none. Native Americans also make up .001% of medical school faculty nationwide. Simply put, there are not enough Native Americans in the healthcare pipeline. This is troubling given Native Americans have higher than average rates of 15 of the 16 leading causes of death. This program will play a necessary role in supporting 8 promising Native American youth from Tribal colleges to become medical professionals. If successful, the program can continue to be a part of the solution for years to come.
Includes a 3-week experiential summer program in Boston at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Students will have the opportunity to gain clinical exposure by shadowing physicians in a variety of clinical settings, practice simulation based procedural skills, well as participate in interactive small group panels and workshops.
In depth exposure to careers in healthcare to include the follow activities among others:
Following completion of the onsite summer program participants will attend quarterly virtual group meetings as well as individual virtual meetings with faculty sponsors/mentors for the calendar year of matriculation. Discussion topic areas will be based on a needs assessment conducted of participants during the summer program on optimal ways to support students in their path to a career in medicine (i.e. facilitating linkages to tutors, facilitating research opportunities, conducting literature searches, Indigenous health and advocacy, leadership skills development)
This program can empower 8 Indigenous youth for maximum impact in their respective communities, for the benefit of their health careers, Boston’s medical community, and the health of Indigenous communities everywhere. If successful this pilot program can be expanded for greater impact and outreach.
Dr. Valerie Dobiesz is an emergency medicine physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Core Faculty at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, the Director of Internal Programs at Neil and Elise Wallace STRATUS Center for Medical Simulation, and Program Lead for the Front-Line Indigenous Partnership (FLIP) Program