For Boston Scientific CEO Michael Mahoney, the dual pandemics of racial inequalities and COVID-19 presented the potential to develop something positive from the unrest that has shaken the country over the past two years.

One of the results is a partnership with the MGH Institute in which the Cambridge medical technology company has funded a scholarship endowment to assist students of color.

The collaboration and ways to reverse inequalities was discussed at the Institute’s annual fundraiser on October 14. The virtual event, entitled “Growth Through Adversity: The IHP Today,” featured Mahoney speaking with MGH Institute Trustee Dr. Michael Jaff, vice president of Clinical Affairs, Innovation, Technology, Peripheral Interventions at Boston Scientific.

The event raised $292,620 to support student scholarships, surpassing the goal by more than six percent. Watch highlights or the full event.

While Mahoney had previously recognized the country’s growing economic gap, the 2020 killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis by police in a neighborhood in which many of the company’s employees live, was a call to action.

“I think the disparities and the social unrest forced us to rather than just talking a lot, put in more specific action plans and strategies and measurements that actually drive more action,” said Mahoney. “Whether it be on our clinical trial work, our employee mix, the flexibility we offer, or the disparity in pay that sometimes you see by country or across race … [It] really just escalated the need for us to put stronger action plans in place.”

Jaff, who had recently joined Boston Scientific after being president of Newton-Wellesley Hospital, had been struck by the Institute’s commitment to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion from his first day as a trustee. It led him, as the leader of the company’s Close the Gap initiative, to propose the scholarship program to Mahoney as a way of merging the two institutions’ passion and dedication to making the world a better place.

“[Healthcare] workforce challenges are more real now more than ever," Jaff said. "What the IHP brings [to this challenge is] making sure we highlight the values of working in health care and then [earning] these degrees to be experts back in their own communities.” Added Mahoney, “This is just a terrific strategy that aligns with our core beliefs.”

The first four scholarship recipients also will spend time shadowing employees at Boston Scientific, further cementing the relationship between the company and the school. “It's about mentoring, exposing these students to additional career opportunities,” said Mahoney, who noted that some of the recipients may land a job at his company in the future. 

The event featured remarks from President Paula Milone-Nuzzo and Trustee Maddie Pearson, both of whom spoke of the importance of supporting the school’s continuing efforts to provide scholarships to students so they can pursue a career in health care.

Katie Regan, who is in the second year of the Master of Science in Genetic Counseling program, is a recipient of the Charles A. and Ann Sanders Interprofessional Scholarship. 

“The interprofessional focus of the IHP stood out to me as I envisioned developing my skills to become a well-rounded member of a health care team,” said Regan, a biological sciences major in college who previously had worked as a clinical research coordinator at Massachusetts General Hospital as well as at other positions at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Boston Children’s Hospital. “The promise and the hope that genetics provides for so many people who are seeking answers, clarity, and even cures, motivates me every day. … I am grateful beyond measure to be given the opportunity to pursue my dream and my passion, so that I may one day pay it forward to patients, their families, and the next generation of health care professionals.”