MedStar Health is committed to building the next generation of healthcare professionals and providing internship opportunities to expose inner-city youth across the region to potential careers in health care. In 1998, MedStar began the Rx for Success program in partnership with the Vivien T. Thomas Medical Arts Academy in Baltimore, located in an area challenged with violence and poverty. The collaboration between MedStar and the school has evolved over the years to create more robust student internship experiences for high-risk youth. Building upon the success of the program in Baltimore, in 2016, MedStar expanded it to Eastern Senior High School in Washington, D.C., through a partnership with Companies for Causes, a nonprofit organization helping at-risk youth graduate and enter college or the workforce.

“The partnership with MedStar provides Eastern Senior High School students extremely valuable opportunities, allowing them to see the connection between their classes and the workplace,” stated Joe Weedon, executive director of Companies for Causes.

Bria Mable is among the participants who were in the program during all four years at the medical arts academy because of its opportunity for professional growth and development. She is now a college freshman studying to be an occupational therapist.

2016 Report to the Community Infographic

The current healthcare workforce does not accurately reflect our nation’s growing diversity.

When combined, African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans represent more than 30 percent of the US population, yet they are significantly under-represented among physicians, registered nurses, dentists, pharmacists, and allied health professionals.

Similarly, Kaheri Gyenyame, a student at Eastern, says that her hands-on internship at the pediatric rehabilitation unit at MedStar National Rehabilitation Network opened her eyes to new future professional opportunities she has in health care.

The Rx for Success program is an eight-week summer internship that connects the course curriculum with tangible onsite experience at one of MedStar’s many clinical sites, and even a few administrative ones, such as healthcare IT. This allows students to demonstrate skill development and experience working in the medical field. New in 2016, interns come together weekly to learn and practice skills in areas such as public speaking, résumé writing, interviewing, and networking. Another newly added component is creating opportunities for community service experiences such as volunteering at Health Care for the Homeless and Shepherd’s Clinic—both MedStar community partners.

Former Executive Director of Shepherd’s Clinic Glenda Skuletich says, “I believe participating in community days like this makes them better health care providers down the road, and that the patients enjoy their role in ‘training’ these students.”