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IU Health expands high school fellowship program

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — IU Health and its partners are working to create a health district in Indianapolis focused on needs including housing, food and wellness.

The district is a vision by IU Health to increase the health and life expectancy for people living in the area.

As part of the project, IU Health is turning its attention to a new, more diverse generation of health care leadership.

On Tuesday, organizations celebrated an outstanding group of students at Crispus Attucks High School who will be entering the IU Health High School Fellowship program.

Shadaye Moore, a student, said, “I felt very inspired and I felt appreciated for what I’m doing and I felt like I’m making a big difference.”

It’s a program unlike any other in Indiana.

The Mosaic Center for Work, Life + Learning will be housed in the heart of the health district in the Hall Place development going up on the southwest corner of Illinois and 18th streets.

Andrea Russell, the program manager at the Mosaic Center, said of the student fellowship, “This program is a pioneer. There aren’t many programs like this, if any at all that are really, intentionally investing in young people and specifically young people of color.”

On Tuesday, the IU Health High School Fellowship Program congratulated its third cohort of students from Crispus Attucks High School, an Indianapolis Public Schools facility. The freshmen were selected after a rigorous application and interview process.

According to education officials, upon graduation and completion of the program, the students will be guaranteed jobs with IU Health as well as financial assistance to receive a related post-secondary degree.

Moore said, “It shows how far we have come as a community and as people.”

Aleesia Johnson, superintendent of Indianapolis Public Schools, said, “All of the students who are participating in this fellowship are students of color. That matters that they have these opportunities to have these experiences when they hopefully continue in their careers to be health care professionals. I believe that will matter for the patients and the people who they serve.”

Dennis Murphy, the president and chief executive officer of IU Health, said, “That’s part of our goal to improve the health of the state is create a different workforce that can relate to our patients and really show that we have better outcomes because we have a better team and a better composition within our team.”

Amy Gaytan took part in the student fellowship’s first cohort at the school. She says having cystic fibrosis did not stop her from pursuing her dreams. “When I was smaller at 12 years old I did decide that I realized that I wanted to help other kids the same way my nurses helped me and I’m just overall excited for this new pathway that I’m taking.”