Reaching the Dream! Unique Science Program Unlocks Door to College for NYC Youth

Six Years of Saturdays and Summers in NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital's Unique Program Pays Off for NYC High School Students Prepped for Careers in Health Care

Jun 16, 2009


For many people, the chance to come to the United States means pursuing the dream of a better life for themselves and their children. Now, six students from Washington Heights and Inwood are a part of this dream. They are preparing to enter college with the assistance of the Lang Youth Medical Program for middle and high school students at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital — the only hospital-based medical mentoring program of its kind in New York City.

The six students, most of them the children of immigrants, will be the Lang Program's first graduates, honored in a ceremony on June 16, starting at 5:30 p.m. at NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital, 3959 Broadway at 165th Street.

"The Lang Youth Medical Program took me into a different world where doctors and nurses make miracles happen," says Henley Vargas, a graduating Lang Scholar who will attend Vanderbilt University on a full scholarship. "This is the best science class in New York City. In high school and junior high school, you learn science through study and experimentation. Here we learn how science can help people in their lives."

In the middle of a harsh economic climate, the Lang Youth Program has given these students the start they need to prepare for, apply to and get accepted into some of the nation's most prestigious colleges. All but one of the students has received scholarships.

"We are very grateful to Eugene Lang for his vision in creating this unique and valuable medical mentoring program," says Dr. Herbert Pardes, president and CEO of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. "The lessons learned by these Lang Scholars will help prepare them for future careers in medicine, nursing, the sciences, or any field they choose. We can be confident that they will come back from college with a world-class education that will help our communities grow and thrive."

"I've had the pleasure of getting to know this impressive group of students over the past six years, and I am enormously proud of their hard work and dedication," says Eugene M. Lang, who established the Lang Youth Medical Program in 2003. "I must also acknowledge with gratitude the magnificent leadership of Dr. Pardes and the entire NewYork-Presbyterian community for so effectively developing the program. Its lessons and experiences have enriched the students' lives and extended their career aspirations. Indeed, the program may well serve as a national model for community-based science and health education."

"The Lang Program has really helped change the course of their lives. But it has been a two-way street," says Monica Hidalgo, program manager of the Lang Youth Medical Program. "These first graduates were more than just students in our program. They were instrumental in shaping this program and creating the program they needed to succeed. We now have this well-established program that they helped create."

With the input of this first graduating class, the Lang Program has been adapted to include instruction in writing and presentation skills, public speaking, organization skills and other lessons necessary to advance in college.

"The Lang Program gave me an experience more valuable than I could learn in any classroom. It has taken a lot of my time, but in return I received hands-on, college-level instruction in science and medicine," says Joanne Luzon, a graduating Lang Scholar who will attend The College of New Rochelle with a scholarship. "It has taught me things that I will take with me to college next year and use for the rest of my life."

The intensive six-year program, which follows students from seventh grade through high school, has provided more than 50 students from Washington Heights and Inwood with an education in science and medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian. Working alongside doctors and researchers in a hospital setting, they learn about medical technology, observe operations and attend medical lectures.

In order to be a part of the Lang Youth Medical Program and receive opportunities for Hospital internships and other college support, students must maintain a grade point average of 80 or better. They must also continue with the program for six years and attend programs on Saturdays throughout the school year and for four weeks during the summer.

The Lang Program is entirely funded through donations and is dependent on support to continue the work first started by noted philanthropist and program founder Eugene M. Lang.

For more information, please call 866-NYP-NEWS.

Lang Youth Medical Program

The Lang Youth Medical Program is a six-year science education and mentoring program for middle and high school students that puts the educational resources of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital to work for young people in Washington Heights and Inwood by helping them realize their college and career aspirations, especially in the health sciences. Under the direction of the Hospital's Ambulatory Care Network (ACN), the program provides experiences and an environment that supports and improves the social, personal and academic development of the Lang Scholars, while at the same time creating new connections between the Hospital and community.

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, based in New York City, is the nation's largest not-for-profit, non-sectarian hospital, with 2,242 beds. The Hospital has nearly 2 million inpatient and outpatient visits in a year, including more than 230,000 visits to its emergency departments — more than any other area hospital. NewYork-Presbyterian provides state-of-the-art inpatient, ambulatory and preventive care in all areas of medicine at five major centers: NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/The Allen Pavilion and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division. One of the largest and most comprehensive health care institutions in the world, the Hospital is committed to excellence in patient care, research, education and community service. NewYork-Presbyterian is the #1 hospital in the New York metropolitan area and is consistently ranked among the best academic medical institutions in the nation, according to U.S.News & World Report. The Hospital has academic affiliations with two of the nation's leading medical colleges: Weill Cornell Medical College and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Media Contact:

Belinda Mager 212-305-5587