Pipeline Program Creates Network of Support for Future Med Student

Eighteen-year-old Joseph Marte is a first year student at CUNY’s 7-year BS/MD program, beginning an educational journey that will result in him achieving his dream of becoming a doctor.

That journey started at Staten Island University Hospital’s Physician Career Enhancement Program—a pipeline program for high school students from underrepresented backgrounds who are interested in medicine.

The program included shadowing physicians and witnessing procedures first hand, in order to give the students an idea if medicine was right for them. It supported them in the college admissions process through SAT prep and meetings with counselors. And, the program exposed them to science research, with each student taking part in a project.

But Marte said the best part was the support system it gave him, and the relationships he built in the hospital.

“I got a huge boost of confidence from the doctors I met throughout the program, hearing about their experience, and feeling like I could do that too,” said Marte. “The program made me feel more empowered to go into medicine and apply to CUNY.”

The Physician Career Enhancement Program affirmed Marte’s passion for medicine and helped him explore career specialties that he may want to pursue down the line. It also showed Marte why more doctors from different backgrounds are needed to serve New York’s diverse neighborhoods.

“Diversity in medicine is very important, since when patients are able to connect with their doctor about their background, they place more trust in them,” said Marte. “Doctors need a patient’s trust in order to get more information and improve their healing.”

He particularly thinks that programs like the one at SIUH are a great tool, since they introduce local students to the medical field in their own neighborhoods and help them grow—improving the chances that they will want to pay the favor back and return to serve their community, like Joseph does.