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Attendees at the 2016 Set Sail for Success event. Image by: Harry Bret
April 15, 2016

Harvard Pilgrim Partnership Celebrated At Set Sail For Success Event

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  • Boston

Eric Schultz, president and CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, joined Chancellor J. Keith Motley and members of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences (CNHS) at a campus event to celebrate the Set Sail for Successprogram, the collaboration that pairs freshmen nursing students with staff advisors and sophomore mentors to simplify their transition into college.

The program, which began in 2014 with the insurance leader’s pledge of $500,000 in funding over five years, “has proven to be an exemplary philanthropic partnership between Harvard Pilgrim and the University of Massachusetts Boston,” Motley said.

“Freshman year can be challenging, but it also can be intimidating, and we wanted you to have access to all the resources that you need as a freshman to establish a solid foundation for your academic career and your professional life.”

Thirty students are enrolled in this year’s freshmen cohort, and are receiving mentoring from four sophomores who participated in Set Sail for Success as freshmen in the 2014-2015 academic year. Organizers hope to enroll 60 new students next fall, and to increase the number of mentors.

“You are so fortunate to be here at UMass Boston, not just because it’s a wonderful set of facilities, and all sorts of things to benefit your education process, but you have by far the best leader and the best faculty to impart their knowledge and support and guidance to each of you,” Schultz told the students.

He also moderated a wide-ranging panel discussion on the present and future of health care, featuring three influential panelists: State Senator Linda Dorcena Forry; Paulette Shaw Querner ’87, vice president and corporate vice president of community health centers at Harbor Health Services, Inc.; and Dr. Myechia Minter-Jordan, president and CEO of The Dimock Center, a Roxbury-based community health center.

The panel discussed several topics crucial to the next generation of health care leaders, including building community consensus, ensuring access to care, and diversifying the workforce.

Dorcena-Forry, who is a member of the legislature’s joint committees on health care financing and mental health and substance abuse, emphasized the importance of reaching out and building consensus for major changes.

“I don’t know everything, I will never know everything,” Dorcena-Forry said. “And so for me, it’s how do you set the stage before a decision is made, because there’s a way to do it. You talk to the stakeholders, you know, you bring people to the table, and they now understand what is going to be the rationale behind that decision.

“Because you know you’re not going to agree with everyone all the time, and it’s OK. I’m fine with not agreeing with people, but you know what, I want that person when at the table when we’re making the decision, because the ideas and the points that they’re going to bring forth are going to be critical to making the legislation better.”

Minter-Jordan stressed the importance of community health centers, which serve people with and without insurance, and more complete health education for everyone.

“I see education and health as being one, because without education you can’t be empowered to take care of your health, but if you’re not healthy, it’s hard for you to be educated and take advantage of all the educational opportunities that are afforded to you,” she said.

Querner, who earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing from UMass Boston, emphasized the importance of a health care workforce that reflects the backgrounds and experiences of the patients it serves.

“That’s really important, that you understand a person’s culture, not just their language, because it affects your definition of health,” Querner said.

She also addressed the “huge shortage” of primary care physicians in the United States, which she said creates new avenues for nurses.

“I see more opportunity for nursing to function independently, to lead care teams. Traditionally most of those care teams have been driven by the physician, or maybe the nurse practitioner. I see nursing stepping up and playing those leadership roles.”

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