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MedStar Health Unveils Rx for Success Program at Vivien T. Thomas Medical Arts Academy

Partnership with Baltimore City Public Schools Yields Region's Most Comprehensive Health Education Program; Rx for Success Planned in Additional City Schools

COLUMBIA, Md., Feb. 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- MedStar Health officials, in partnership with the Baltimore City Public School System (BCPSS), is pleased to unveil the Rx for Success program at the Vivien T. Thomas Medical Arts Academy. Part of a five-year commitment between MedStar Health and BCPSS, Rx for Success is the most comprehensive allied health program in the region aligning an intricate network of corporate and civic partners to benefit public education. For the 2007-2008 academic school year, 220 students from the Vivien T. Thomas Medical Arts Academy are enrolled in the program. Rx for Success is designed to prepare students for collegiate studies and careers in health and science. For the first time, MedStar Health and BCPSS are showcasing the merits of the Rx for Success program, its initial success and potential for implementation in other city schools.

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"Health care is an exciting industry to be in. We need to expose young students, our future workforce, to all the possibilities," says Kenneth A. Samet, president and chief executive officer of MedStar Health. "As the shortage of Maryland healthcare workers continues to grow, we feel compelled to act by bringing both corporate and community organizations together to reverse this alarming trend."

An active community partner, MedStar Health has fostered a number of academic enrichment programs in the region. In its most ambitious program to date, MedStar Health created an academic oasis for young Baltimore City students at the Vivien T. Thomas Medical Arts Academy, the inaugural school to participate in Rx for Success. Created to present channels of access and opportunity for young people in low-income, scholastically-challenged Baltimore neighborhoods, Rx for Success has been a source of inspiration and a benchmark for success among students at Vivien T. Thomas Medical Arts Academy. Additionally, officials involved with the program are hopeful that its long-term benefits will address the critical shortage of qualified healthcare workers in the region by creating a pipeline of talented, skilled individuals.

"Our partnership with the Baltimore City Public School System aligns with our commitment to helping the community," says Steven S. Cohen, senior vice president of integrated operations for MedStar Health and initiator of the Rx for Success program. "This program will help to develop our future workforce by exposing students to careers in allied health fields with the potential for future employment at either one of our hospitals or another hospital in the area."

The Rx for Success program marries the conventional curriculum as designated by the Maryland State Department of Education with specialized coursework geared to the healthcare profession. Students receive medical arts-oriented instruction, with hands-on applied and theory-based classroom training, that is supported by one-on-one interaction with healthcare professionals and medical practitioners. Coursework for students cover a variety of healthcare disciplines that are segmented into four distinct medical arenas called "pathways." The four pathways include:

-- Allied Health

-- Biotechnology

-- Pharmacy Technician

-- Surgical Operating Room Technician

The program also features a fully-operational, state-of-the-art lab equipped with course-appropriate stations that include professional-grade medical equipment and supplies. The lab is also outfitted with SiTel's eLearning platform to create highly innovative, medical simulations. SiTel is also used in each MedStar Health hospital and by all employees, throughout the organization, to train medical students, physicians, nurses, administrators and other healthcare providers in a variety of critical care scenarios and complex medical procedures. SiTel's eLearning platform is just one example of how MedStar Health has created a real-world environment for Rx for Success students, providing MedStar Health lab coats, that serve as school uniforms, is yet another.

"Corporate and industry-related partnerships give our students a bridge into the 21st global workforce by helping students understand how their education prepares them for the world of work," said Dr. Andres Alonso, CEO of the Baltimore City Public School System. "We applaud the efforts of companies like MedStar Health for their support and strategic vision in helping our students embrace educational achievement and long-term career opportunity."

In addition to the classroom instruction, the Rx for Success program incorporates mentoring and internships, which complements the school's academic program and are vital to its success. MedStar Health employees and volunteers from partner organizations are visibly active in the Rx for Success program by forging meaningful relationships with students, serving as mentors and facilitating hospital visits and internship opportunities.

About MedStar Health

MedStar Health is a $3.1 billion non-profit healthcare organization and a community-based network of eight hospitals and other healthcare services in the Baltimore/Washington region. The hospitals, which include both teaching and community facilities, are Franklin Square Hospital Center, Good Samaritan Hospital, Harbor Hospital, Montgomery General Hospital and Union Memorial Hospital in Maryland, and Georgetown University Hospital, National Rehabilitation Hospital, and Washington Hospital Center in the District of Columbia. MedStar Health is based in Columbia, Maryland and as the area's largest health system, it is one of its largest employers, with more than 25,000 employees and 5000 affiliated physicians, all of whom support MedStar Health's patient-first philosophy that combines care, compassion and clinical excellence with an emphasis on customer service. We prove this everyday with over 158,000 inpatient admissions and more than one and a half million outpatient visits each year.

MedStar Health's areas of clinical excellence include cardiology, cardiac surgery, oncology services, rehabilitation, neurosciences, orthopedic surgery, women's services, and emergency and sub-acute care, medical education and research. Other health-related services include assisted living, home health and long-term care. MedStar Health also operates nursing homes, senior housing, adult day care, rehabilitation and ambulatory center, as well as MedStar Physician Partners, a comprehensive physician network in the Baltimore/Washington area.

SOURCE Washington Hospital Center
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