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Science and health enrichment programs offered to high school students

Thursday, February 03, 2020

East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania – Summer and after-school enrichment programs are being offered to high school students interested in medicine or health related professions through The Commonwealth Medical College’s (TCMC) Regional Education Academy for Careers in Science-Higher Education Initiative (REACH-HEI) and its regional partner, East Stroudsburg University (ESU). These enrichment programs are designed to help economically disadvantaged students in the East Stroudsburg School District improve their science and overall grades and learn how to go from high school through college and beyond in pursuit of the health profession of their choice. 

“We are excited to have ESU as a significant partner to our REACH – HEI project and look forward to results that will improve the academic opportunities of our participants,” stated Ida L. Castro, Principal Investigator and Vice President, Social Justice and Diversity, TCMC.  

“I am very excited about the partnership with ESU and TCMC. This is a wonderful opportunity for students to fulfill their dreams as well as providing for quality medical professionals right here in Northeast Pennsylvania, stated Sharon Laverdure, Assistant Superintendent at East Stroudsburg School District, East Stroudsburg,  PA. “The mentor piece is extremely important and relevant.  Half of the battle with students achieving success is encouragement,” Ms. Laverdure continued. 

REACH-HEI students will work with TCMC and ESU faculty and students to learn how to transition into and succeed in the rigorous academic environment of two-year and four-year colleges, graduate level and health professional schools. Students interested in careers such as: medicine, dentistry, physical/occupational therapy, psychology, medical technology, respiratory therapy, health education, optometry and other health related fields who meet the requirements must apply by February 10, 2020. Students accepted into the programs will receive stipends for participating.  

“The reality is that there is a shortage of physicians and of health professionals throughout rural Pennsylvania, this is especially true in Northeast Pennsylvania where all of the counties have at least one area that is considered a medically underserved area by the federal government,” stated Alberto J.F. Cardelle, PhD, MPH, Professor and Chair of the Health Studies Department, East Stroudsburg University. “We also know that persons from rural areas and small towns tend to be more likely to work in rural areas and small towns, so the long-term solution is to get students into college, then into medical or health professions schools, so they are more likely to work here in NEPA. This is why this is such an important program,” Dr. Cardelle continued.

The REACH-HEI High School After-School and Summer Enrichment Programs (SEP) are offered for students completing their sophomore year. Participants must be a current high school sophomore at the time of application and have a 3.0 grade point average (GPA). Applicants must also meet federally established economic disadvantaged (lower income) guidelines for admission into the program. After-school and Saturday programs will begin in late February. Summer Programs will be held July 11 through August 5, 2020.

The REACH-HEI programs are designed to provide high school students with a thematic curriculum of science, math, research, writing, SAT/GRE preparation, career and college planning, shadowing, and cultural awareness. Students will work with teams of TCMC and ESU faculty and medical students to explore health disparities and community health problems. They will develop related research and community awareness projects and continue receive mentoring throughout their years in higher education. Students will solidify their commitment towards working in a health profession, enhance their scientific problem-solving skills, and expand decision-making, test-taking, and leadership skills through program participation. All participants will maintain an electronic portfolio of program activities and receive a REACH-HEI certificate at the time of graduation.

The application deadline for REACH-HEI programs is February 10, 2020.  Space is limited. Application materials can be obtained from guidance and career services offices. Students can also visit the website at for more information or, contact Uriel Trujillo, REACH-HEI Program Manager at ESU at 570-422-3509 at u`[email protected] or Maureen Murtha, REACH-HEI TCMC Program Manager, The Commonwealth Medical College, [email protected] or call # (570) 955-1314.

The REACH-HEI Program is administered by The Commonwealth Medical College, Scranton, Pennsylvania, in conjunction with sub grantee partners.  Funding for the program was received from the US Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Bureau of Health Professions.


Media contact:
Anne Green, manager, Marketing Communications
Phone: (570) 687-9703
[email protected] 

TCMC press release archive