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Building a town-gown partnership, from high school to medical school

Yale Medicine Magazine, 1998 - Fall


A five-year collaboration between Yale University and New Haven’s Career High School entered a new phase in September, as students and teachers moved to a new building a few blocks away from the medical center. The proximity, as well as a new shuttle bus, will bring students closer to the anatomy classes they take and their internships at the medical school and Yale-New Haven Hospital.

Career High—or Hill Regional Allied Health and Business Career High School, as the school will be known in its new building—was created in 1983 to introduce students to careers in health, business and computer technology. Until this year the magnet school and its 450 students occupied a former elementary school on Wooster Square that was originally built to handle only 300 students. The new 165,000-square-foot building at 140 Legion Ave. opened this year with 600 students. It will admit a full complement of 750 next year.

The school’s relationship with Yale began in 1993 when Career students came to the medical school for anatomy lessons given by medical students and William B. Stewart, Ph.D., associate professor of surgery and section chief for anatomy and experimental surgery. Since then it has grown into a multifaceted program that two years ago became a formal partnership. The School of Nursing has provided mentors and internships, and medical library staff have trained teachers in the use of the Internet. This past summer 15 Career students participated in a two-week program on the campus of the medical school, living in Harkness Hall and studying biology and chemistry with faculty from the medical school, Yale College and the New Haven public schools. Medical faculty and staff have advised Career staff on computer networks and laboratory equipment. The new school will have 650 networked computers with links to the Yale computer network.

“What’s exciting about the partnership is that it goes beyond simply trying to inspire kids to become a physician or a nurse or researcher,” says Claudia Merson, Ed.M., Coordinator of Career High School Partnership at the medical school. ”We work with the faculty to provide opportunities for students to acquire the skills and discipline they are going to need to get there.”

“Another facet of the collaboration has been the opportunity for every student to take advantage of at least one of a series of internships offered at the hospital and medical school. Students spend two days a week working in a clinical or laboratory setting while gaining academic credit for their work. These internships give our students the chance to apply and expand upon skills learned in the classrooms at a first-rate medical center,” says school principal Charles Williams. “The kids love it.”

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