Renewed Support

Bronx HOPE: Pipeline Program Receives New Name and Major Grant Renewal

Einstein has a long tradition of promoting diversity in the health workforce. To that end, the College of Medicine’s department of family and social medicine partners with a broad network of Bronx-based educational institutions and community agencies to provide a “health-careers pipeline” for students from the Bronx who aspire to become physicians, research scientists and other health professionals. Recently, Dr. Peter Selwyn, professor and chair of family and social medicine, made two important announcements.

H. Alvin “Hal” Strelnick, M.D.
H. Alvin “Hal” Strelnick, M.D.
In memory of Hope Spano, the program formerly known as the Bronx Science and Health Opportunities Partnership (BxSHOP) has been renamed the Bronx Health Opportunities Partnership-Einstein (Bronx HOPE). Ms. Spano was the beloved administrator of Einstein’s Hispanic Center of Excellence and its Bronx Center to Reduce and Eliminate Ethnic and Racial Health Disparities. She was also passionately committed to BxSHOP. The renaming marks the first anniversary of her death in September 2014 from colon cancer, at age 52.

The department also was awarded a renewal grant from the federal Health Resources Services Administration through its Health Careers Opportunity Program. Over three years, nearly $2 million will be distributed to help continue and expand Einstein and Montefiore programs as well as other initiatives that are part of Bronx HOPE.

Pathway to Success

Directed by Dr. Hal Strelnick, assistant dean for community engagement and the department’s division chief of community health, Bronx HOPE serves students who are economically and educationally disadvantaged and from groups under-represented in medicine. It offers a comprehensive pathway to training in science, medicine and healthcare for middle and high schoolers, undergraduates, and post-baccalaureate students.

Students taking part in the EEP
Students taking part in the EEP
Some 350 students participate in structured programs each year, and 1,000 to 2,000 students, parents, teachers and counselors attend events sponsored by the partnering institutions.

“Bronx HOPE is a life-changing experience for our students,” said Dr. Strelnick. Cornerstones of the program include leadership development, mentoring, motivation through service, experiential learning and cultural competency. Career, educational and financial aid counseling is available to participants and their families.

Since 2004, Bronx HOPE has linked several Einstein programs with programs at Bronx middle and high schools, community colleges, and other local and regional institutions. Those Einstein programs are:

  • the Einstein Enrichment Program (EEP) for high school students;
  • the college-level Summer Undergraduate Mentorship Program (SUMP); and
  • EiSci, a Community-Based Service Learning initiative at the Pelham Lab High School.

A pictorial tribute of Hope Spano, in whose memory Bronx HOPE is named
A pictorial tribute of Hope Spano, in whose memory Bronx HOPE is named.
Other partners include the Montefiore Health Opportunities Program (Monte-HOP), Fordham University’s middle- and high school-level Science and Technology Entry Program (STEP) and its Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP), and Bronx Community College. Two national programs, Health Career Connection and Mentoring in Medicine, also participate.

Growing the Pipeline

“The new grant will secure the future of our summer programs—EEP, SUMP and Monte-HOP—for three more years and allow us to expand them,” said Dr. Strelnick.

“By growing these programs and developing closer ties in the community, we aim to motivate and empower more students to meet the rigorous educational requirements of the academic programs that will prepare them for competitive colleges and professional schools.” Specifically, the renewal funds will make it possible for:

  • SUMP to continue to fund 14 college students to spend six weeks at Einstein each summer and receive stipends;
  • Health Career Connection students to serve for 10 weeks as coordinators for the SUMP and Monte-HOP programs, which both accept younger students;
  • EEP to start a new summer transition program for its high school graduates entering college; and
  • Bronx Community College to focus on helping its students matriculate to four-year City University of New York colleges, such as Lehman.

Legacy of Hope

“Hope Spano was a devoted and inspiring mentor for students, and a staunch supporter of faculty and staff from Einstein, Montefiore and our collaborating institutions,” said Dr. Strelnick. “She set high standards and worked hard to help others live up to them. The new ‘Bronx HOPE’ name was chosen by a unanimous vote of our partners, all of whom knew and loved her.

“This renewed federal funding is a strong vote of confidence that will allow us to carry on Hope’s legacy,” said Dr. Strelnick, smiling. “Hope would approve.”

Posted on: Wednesday, October 28, 2015