At the Zucker School, zipping along the underserved

Greasing the skids: Joined here by Associate Dean of Diversity and Inclusion Robert Roswell (back left) and Assistant Director of Pipeline Programs Gina Granger (back right), the first eight participants of the Zucker School of Medicine Pipeline Program have a good shot at matriculating into the Hofstra/Northwell medical school.
By GREGORY ZELLER //

An innovative pipeline program will funnel economically and socially disadvantaged collegians into the Zucker School of Medicine.

Going by the zippy acronym ZPP, the Zucker School of Medicine Pipeline Program has named its first class of participants – eight “rising college sophomores,” each with an academic interest in healthcare and each facing difficult economic and social challenges, according to the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell, which announced the new program Wednesday.

The three-year, summer-intensive academic-enrichment effort is designed to “enhance the matriculation of students underrepresented in medicine” – specifically, by providing high-achieving, economically disadvantaged collegians “an opportunity for direct enrollment” into the Zucker School.

Noting the ultimate goal of “advancing underserved students,” Gina Granger, assistant director of the medical school’s pipeline programs, framed the ZPP as an important doorway for minorities.

“It is an amazing opportunity for these deserving students and our medical school to bridge the gap for minorities in the healthcare professions even further,” Granger said Wednesday.

Gina Granger: Serving the deserving underserved.

The start of the ZPP coincides with the 10-year anniversary of the launch of the Zucker School’s Medical Scholars Pipeline Program. The MSPP offers mentoring, healthcare skills training, clinical exposure and a full slate of college-prep work to high schoolers in Queens, Nassau and Suffolk counties, all meant to create “highly competitive applicants to undergraduate and graduate schools in medicine and other fields,” according to the Zucker School.

To date, some 200 high school students have enrolled in the MSPP and about 100 have completed the rigorous program, including some who’ve now migrated into the ZPP, such as Brooklyn College sophomore Kelly Centeno.

“In the MSPP, we received SAT/ACT preparation, which was very helpful,” Centeno said in a statement. “In this program, we will receive science enrichment courses that will help in preparation for the next semester in college.”

Centeno isn’t the only program participant to thrive. All of those 100-or-so MSPP graduates have matriculated into “leading universities and graduate schools,” according to the Zucker School, including four who are now studying at the Hofstra/Northwell medical school.

By furthering that momentum into healthcare-minded students’ college years, the ZPP will both strengthen those students’ chances of achieving their professional-healthcare dreams and enhance the Zucker School’s recruitment efforts – all told, a worthy sequel to the decade-long MSPP effort, Granger noted.

“From high school to college and career, we strive to offer support and guidance for each step of their journey,” the assistant director said. “Our goal is to help all of our participants discover and develop confidence in their potential.”