Education & OUtreach
Hedvig Hricak, MD, PhD has devoted much of her career to mentoring and to developing training and research opportunities. In the course of this work, she came to understand the importance of providing educational opportunities to students at the high school level in order to promote interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). In 2004, in collaboration with the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE), she initiated the community outreach program Radiology: Giving Back to NYC for students from New York City public high schools. Each year, selected juniors from public high schools in all five boroughs of New York City are invited to participate in an essay-writing competition in the field of radiology, and all who enter the competition are invited to attend a one-day educational program held at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK), at which the winners are announced.
Organized and staffed on a volunteer basis, the overall goal is to inspire and educate students and teachers about careers in healthcare with a focus on radiology and other science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. Faculty include: Sara J Abramson, MD, Emeritus, Attending Radiologist, MSK; Joshua Chaim, DO Assistant Professor of Radiology at MSK; Jacqueline A. Bello, MD, Professor of Radiology, Director, Division of Neuroradiology Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine; and David Mirsky, MD, Associate Professor of Radiology, Children’s Hospital Colorado, University of Colorado School of Medicine. Sheila Fortunato, Community Outreach Manager for the Department of Radiology at MSK helps to manage the program. The program includes talks, interactive workshops and a career panel. About 850 students from over 50 high schools have participated in the program since its inception in 2004. Of note, the New York City school system is the largest in the United States.
In 2013, the Council of the City of New York issued a proclamation citing Dr Hricak’s guidance and support for high school students stating the 19th day of April in 2013 to be Radiology/Science Careers Awareness & Exploration Day for High School Juniors.
Through Hricak’s ongoing collaboration with educator Karen Hubbard, PhD, Professor of the Department of Biology at the City College of New York (CCNY), and their work as Co-Leaders of the NIH-funded U54 CCNY-MSKCC Partnership grant U54CA132378, the Radiology: Giving Back to NYC program was expanded and began offering NIH-funded summer internships in STEM to the five winners of the essay-writing competition each year. In the period 2014-2018, Radiology: Giving Back to NYC awarded 23 internships at MSK to high school students from the NYCDOE school system.