Immediately, Mayor Thomas Menino heeded this call-to-action and brought together several of the Boston teaching hospitals to discuss their role in eliminating disparities. The Mayor remarked that Dr. Peter Slavin was one of the first to respond. As part of that effort, the MGH Committee on Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care was initiated in the spring of 2003.
While committee co-chairs, Dr. Joseph Betancourt and Ms. Joan Quinlan, spent a few moments discussing the accomplishments of the committee (see website for more information), the major focus was on Mayor Menino; thanking him for his dedication to health equity and his support of a variety of initiatives at MGH and throughout the city. I immediately thought of Ms. Quinlin stated that there were too many to name, but gave a top 10 list which included:
- Ban of sugar-sweetened beverages in school
- Smoking ban in restaurants
- Initiative to prevent teen smoking
- Youth Summer Jobs program
MGH has been the largest employer for the summer jobs program and during the hospital’s 200th year anniversary celebration in 2011, initiated a Bicentennial Scholars Program that provided intense college prep and scholarships to more than 20 high school students who had participated in the Mayor’s summer jobs program. The MGH scholars program supports talented minority students who are interested in pursuing careers in medicine or biomedical research.
I had the pleasure of being Keynote Speaker at the 2012 MGH Summer Jobs & Youth Programs Celebration. They are indeed a group of remarkable students. One of the scholars who spoke during the 2012 celebration, also gave remarks today. He presented Mayor Menino with a beautiful engraved award, thanking him on behalf of the hundreds of youth who have participated in the jobs program.
~ One drop of knowledge can ripple through an entire community