The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

Since 2008, Penn Medicine has been working with high schools in the Philadelphia area to encourage students to pursue careers in medicine.

The Penn Medicine High School Pipeline Program began six years ago as a summer internship for high school students to introduce them to the career opportunities available in health care. By 2010, it had evolved into a two-year program for high school juniors and seniors involving internships and college courses along with their regular high school classes.

“We had a summer internship and our leadership at the health system wanted to broaden it to become more of a college development model,” said Frances Graham, associate director of workforce development at the University of Pennsylvania Health System.

Related: Penn looks to high school students to increase faculty diversity

The program works with four West Philadelphia high schools: Boys Latin Charter High School, Robeson High School, Sayre High School and West Philadelphia High School.

“Being in the program has definitely changed me, because I didn’t exactly know who I wanted to be just yet, and the program gave me a feel of what I want to be and who I want to be,” said Maliyah Moment, a current participant in the program and senior at Robeson High School.


Each year Penn Med accepts around 20 rising juniors to the two-year program. As part of the program, the students can work in either labs on surgical floors or in administrative offices at one of Penn Medicine’s three hospitals. They are also required to take one college-level class through the Community College of Philadelphia.

Graham said that applicants to the program are checked for academic performance, recommendations from their schools, attendance and conduct issues before they can be accepted. The program conducts interviews, and through various screening mechanisms, makes sure that the applicants will fit the program well.

Related: Imminent closing of UCHS poses challenge to internship program

Approximately 200 students have participated in the program so far, with 88 students going through the intensive two-year program. Almost all who have graduated from the program have gone off to college.

“For us, it is exposing them to college early and showing them different career options within the medical field, “ said Graham. The program gives the high school students resources that they may not otherwise have access to.

As a student interested in possibly pursuing a career in the field of neuroscience, Moment knew she wanted to participate in the program for a long time, as her sister had also gone through the experience. Moment spent her internship last year working at Penn Medicine’s Edward S. Cooper Internal Medicine practice on 37th and Market streets.

Her goal is to finish off her high school career strong and go to Penn, her “top choice” school. “I feel like I’m just stepping closer and closer to my future and my dreams of what I want to be,” said Moment.


Related: High schools to use Penn Coursera class

The program also introduces participants to lesser known fields in medicine.

Ashley Mason, a graduate of the pipeline program in 2012, is now working full time in Guest Relations for the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. When she began the program, her goal was to become a nurse but after working in HUP she realized she was more interested in health care management.

After graduating the program, she received a full scholarship to CCP. “Right now I’m majoring in health administrative management. My goal is to graduate next May and then transfer to Drexel to complete my degree and go into health care management,” said Mason.

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.