Boston Scientific Aids Scholarship Initiative to Help Students of Color
When Dr. Michael R. Jaff learned last summer that Boston Scientific was creating a multifaceted strategy to combat racism, inequity, and injustice, his first thought was how to connect that effort to the MGH Institute’s own commitment to diversity.
Jaff, the chief medical officer and vice president of clinical affairs, innovation, and technology, peripheral interventions at the global medical technology leader and a trustee at the Institute, knew the school was developing a new scholarship campaign to assist students of color.
As part of Boston Scientific’s initiative, the company donated $100,000 to the IHP endowment to fund four annual scholarships, plus an additional $10,000 so students can begin receiving funds this spring.
“Health care inequalities are a terrible crisis we face in this country,” said Jaff, who is also an internationally renowned vascular specialist and the former president of Newton-Wellesley Hospital. “We’re never going to solve this until our health care workers reflect the patients for whom they care, and it’s exciting that the Institute wants to make it a cornerstone of its mission going forward. These funds will support students for years to come and are a step in the right direction.”
Clare McCully, the Institute’s chief development officer, said the idea to provide direct financial aid came about as school leaders addressed myriad racial injustice issues raised during last year’s Black Lives Matter movement. “While the Institute has dramatically increased the amount of financial aid for all students over the past several years, we realized we needed to improve our efforts for students of color,” she said. “This will help them fulfill their goal of becoming health care professionals.”
Honorary Trustee Carol Taylor and her husband, John Deknatel, were the first to join the scholarship initiative, continuing their long-term support of the Institute by sponsoring one of the scholarships in honor of E. Lorraine Baugh, the Institute’s first board chair. It was their second time celebrating Baugh. In 2012, the couple funded a visiting faculty scholars program that brings experts to the IHP campus to speak on topics with an emphasis on diversity and inclusion in the health professions.
“It was a good match with my interest with the lecture series while being another way to recognize Lorraine for all she has done for the Institute,” said Taylor, who stepped down from the board in 2015 after serving 11 years. “We need to continue addressing the financial disparities for people of color, which are more acute than ever.”
The Institute is now more than halfway toward creating 10 scholarships intended to increase diversity in the health professions. In doing so, the Institute is continuing its long-established mission of educating graduates who are reflective of the communities where they work and live. Each of the $25,000 donations will be matched by the school’s Kay Bander Scholarship Program to create separate $50,000 endowments, eventually providing $2,500 scholarships to 10 students each year.
In addition to offering financial support, Jaff said Boston Scientific will offer students the opportunity to shadow employees at its Marlborough offices, and envisions the possibility that IHP graduates could be hired in the future. “We currently have nurses working here, and we may need people from the rehabilitation sciences as well,” he said. “This could be the beginning of a strong synergy between Boston Scientific and the Institute.”
This article appeared in the Winter 2021 Issue of the IHP Magazine