Event Recap | Tapping The Power of Health Pathways in Early College

On Tuesday, May 23, 2023, we gathered for Tapping The Power of Health Pathways in Early College at Mass General Hospital’s Simches Research Center. While we all acknowledged how difficult it will be to realize Early College’s potential to put students on faster and firmer pathways to clinical health careers, we were buoyed by the determination of all in the room to rise this challenge, working collaboratively.

Patrick Sainato, an Early College Promise student from Haverhill High, helped establish this positive tone by describing his journey to a health career. Patrick has taken advantage of both Career Technical Education and Early College programs at Haverhill High. His unique high school experiences put him in a position to pursue his aspiration to earn a medical degree with total confidence. MassINC’s Research Director, Ben Forman, offered a blueprint for providing thousands of high school students with the unique opportunities that have put Patrick in such an advantageous position.

With a panel of leaders moderated by Bill Walczak (Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education), we ground-truthed these ideas. Kristen Almquist-Cevallos (Dearborn Stem Early College Academy) described the needs of underserved high school students and how we meet them. Dr. Rossanna DeMarco (UMass Boston) and Lisa Stejskal (Mount Wachusett Community College) provided insight on how higher education can build the capacity to serve many more students following Early College pathways.

MJ Ryan (Mass General Brigham) shared how healthcare employers perceive these workforce development challenges and solutions, emphasizing how having patience to build a larger pipeline through efforts like Early College will be far more cost-effective than pursuing quick fixes to the skilled worker shortage. We also heard a number of compelling thoughts from those in attendance, who shared their perspectives on the health sector’s workforce needs and the opportunities and challenges that we face positioning Early College to provide a powerful contribution.

Erika Giampietro, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Early College Alliance, concluded the conversation by sharing stats to demonstrate the momentum behind Early College expansion, along with the endearing story of a recent Early College graduate.

As we exited the auditorium, guests conversed and exchanged contacts. Many committed to bringing these ideas back to their communities and engaging with us, as they work to build robust health pathways in their regions. We very much welcome these opportunities to work collaboratively.

MassINC is grateful to Massachusetts General Hospital and many other partners that made this forum possible, including the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education, the Boston Healthcare Careers Consortium, and the Massachusetts Alliance for Early College. Finally, we recognize and express our gratitude to the Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation and the Trefler Foundation for their generous financial support.


Related materials

Download the presentation

Health Pathways Presentation


Read our two-part series on Early College pathways

Early College as a Scalable Solution to the Looming Workforce Crisis

Tapping the Power of Health Pathways in Early College High Schools

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