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Sullivan Maryland Alliance launches two after-school K-8 programs to introduce children to health careers


Baltimore, MD, April 23, 2013 – The Sullivan Maryland Alliance, known as Maryland Alliance to Transform the Health Professions, today announced two new signature initiatives to further its mission to guide underrepresented minorities into health careers in Maryland: The Sullivan Kids and The Health Club. The Sullivan Kids, launching today at a school in one of West Baltimore’s poorest neighborhoods, is an after-school program designed to introduce children to health professions and current health topics. The Health Club, a new program in Northeast Baltimore, connects parents, students, teachers, and administrators with social, business and political leaders to address the community’s health and educational needs.

“These Maryland programs give children and their families the opportunity to “open the door” to the possibility of a health professions career,” said Robin H. Carle, C.O.O. of The Sullivan Alliance to Transform the Health Professions. “Sparking the interest of children early in their education is important and hopefully, will result in a new generation of health care professionals.”

The Sullivan Kids are a cohort of twenty children attending grades K-8 at Rosemont Elementary and Middle School (Rosemont) in Coppin Heights, West Baltimore. In 1998 Rosemont was on the list of Maryland’s failing schools and was slated to close. With the guidance of Coppin State University, and leadership of Ms. Sandra Ashe (Former Principal, and now, Executive Director) and Mr. Dwayne T. Wheeler, current Principal, the school is now among the highly performing schools in its district. The school has predominantly an African American student enrollment (99%), at least 85% of the children are from single parent households, and more than 98% of them qualify for food programs. School officials estimate that at least 50% of the children fail to complete their homework on a daily basis.

The program, held after school every Tuesday, will include: interactive activities about the health professions, and current health topics of interest to children and youth; field trips to area hospitals and clinics; guest presentations by health and allied health professionals who are underrepresented minorities themselves; and, games and projects about health careers. Social media updates are also planned to increase awareness of the health professions by the participating children, their parents, educators and counselors.

The Health Club at The Northwood Appold Community Academy (NACA) helps to address the health and educational needs of Northeast Baltimore. NACA is a public charter school with 260 students in K through 5th grade as well as 137 students in grades 6th-12th. The school has partnerships with several organizations including Morgan State University and Medstar Good Samaritan Hospital. Faculty and staff at the school are ambitious in linking parents, students, teachers, administrators, civic structures, social leaders, business leaders and political leaders in addressing the community’s health and educational needs. The Health Club meets bi-weekly and offers activities which introduce its members to the variety of health careers which they may pursue. It also provides an opportunity to explore the major health issues of the day and the role of young people. Club members can also assess potential health careers and health topics through group discussions, field trips, and guest-speaker presentations.

These pilot programs are led by the Maryland Alliance, a state collaborative signed in 2010 between all HBCUs and health professions schools in the state of Maryland. The Maryland Alliance is chaired by Allan S. Noonan, MD, MPH, retired Assistant Surgeon General of the U.S. Public Health Service and former Dean of the School of Community Health and Policy at Morgan State University. Ilana S. Mittman, PhD, a social scientist focused on health and educational equity and the Alliance’s Vice Chair, will lead the Sullivan Kids activities at Rosemont, while Dr. Noonan will lead The Health Club activities at NACA.

Student interns from Rosemont and NACA will be awarded community service credits to assist both programs. Ms. Hermione Hicks, former Associate Dean of Admissions at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and an expert and advocate in cultivating talent from within underrepresented groups locally and nationally, will advise and aide activities in both schools. Ms. Shaconna Gorham, MS, a project manager for Quality Assurance at the Kennedy Krieger Institute, will act as program coordinator.

About The Sullivan Alliance to Transform the Health Professions

Under the leadership of Dr. Louis W. Sullivan, former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Sullivan Alliance to Transform the Health Professions was organized in January 2005, to act on the reports and recommendations of the Sullivan Commission (Missing Persons: Minorities in the Health Professions, September, 2004), and the Institute of Medicine Committee on Institutional and Policy-Level Strategies for Increasing the Diversity of the U.S. Healthcare Workforce (In the Nation’s Compelling Interest: Ensuring Diversity in the Healthcare Workforce). The Alliance’s goal is to provide the focused leadership, deep commitment, and sustainable efforts that will result in the addition to our nation’s workforce of more well-trained health professionals from racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds able to provide quality health care and innovative research in the decades ahead.

For more information, go to www.thesullivanalliance.org, Twitter (@SullivanAllianc) or Facebook (www.facebook.com/SullivanAlliance).

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Robin H. Carle
rcarle@thesullivanalliance.org
Samantha Edwards
sedwards@thesullivanalliance.org