The Perelman School of Medicine and Penn’s Netter Center for Community Partnerships have long worked together to offer an Educational Pipeline Program that matches underserved, local high school students in West Philadelphia who have an interest in science with volunteer Penn undergraduates and professional (medical and veterinary) students to the benefit of all concerned. The high school students gain exposure to the importance of post-secondary education, are introduced to careers in medicine and health care, and learn about significant health care disparities affecting underrepresented populations.
Thanks to the vision and support of Ron and Karrie Belldegrun, LSM recently joined in this partnership through the creation of a Life Sciences & Management track in EPP. The LSM Educational Pipeline Program is intended to expand the scope of EPP and give high school students knowledge and experience of the development and commercialization of medical technologies, while at the same time giving LSM undergraduate volunteers an opportunity to learn from local high school students about their lives and concerns.
The LSM Educational Pipeline Program is run by LSM students with support from Dr. Sharon Lewis, Director of the Educational Pipeline Program, Perelman School of Medicine, and staff in the Netter Center, as well as input from LSM faculty and staff. Those LSM sophomores and juniors who elect to join the program are asked to make a two-year commitment to create and plan a curriculum centered in the life sciences and the implementation of scientific innovations, and then teach and mentor 11th-12th grade students at several partner high schools. In addition to hands-on classes, the program also includes field trips to local biotech companies (last year the students visited Integral Molecular and Spark Therapeutics), and Penn’s business incubator, the Pennovation Center. In the spring, the LSM students teach 11th grade students a class that culminates in a presentation based on a market scan that is made to all the EPP stakeholders. The 12th grade students spend the spring applying their knowledge to develop, with help from the LSM students, clinical and commercial plans for novel Penn-affiliated technologies, again culminating in a presentation to all the EPP stakeholders.
The LSM Educational Pipeline Program gives LSM students a great opportunity to get involved in the Philadelphia community. We accept applications for new volunteers -- Student Coordinators -- every Fall after students have completed their first year at Penn.