Massachusetts high school students to complete Tufts University School of Medicine program

Five-week program provides research and clinical experiences to students of diverse backgrounds interested in pursuing careers in medicine or science

Tufts University School of Medicine’s 2016 Teachers and High School Students program

BOSTON (July 28, 2016)—The summer accomplishments of 26 Massachusetts high school students who have been learning about health careers and working on clinical and laboratory research for the past five weeks will be celebrated by family, friends, and faculty when they present their research projects at an event at Tufts University School of Medicine on July 29, 2016.  

The Teachers and High School Students (TAHSS) program at Tufts, which has been running every summer since 1989, educates high school students interested in careers in health, medicine, or science. Tutored by medical school students in anatomy and diagnosis, students in the program also have the opportunity to participate in team-building field trips across the Boston area and connect with student mentors on Tufts University’s Boston health sciences campus. The core work for each student, however, is 25 hours working in a clinic or science lab on an independent research project, which the students present at the July 29 event.

“When students in the Teachers and High School Students program first arrive on campus, they have questions about research, lab work, undergraduate and graduate school, and potential career paths,” said Joyce Sackey, M.D., dean for multicultural affairs and global health and associate professor at Tufts University School of Medicine. “We hope that by the end of their time in this program they have found answers to many of their questions, and gained insight into what it may be like to pursue a career in a health care profession.”

Participating students and their research projects are:

Rumbila Abdullahi (Springfield), 18, Springfield Central High School: "Emphysema”

Sheika Belizaire (Hyde Park), 17, Academy of the Pacific Rim Charter Public School: “The white plague (tuberculosis)”

Benigheon Bonner (Pembroke), 17, Pembroke High School: “Under the microscope: A closer look into ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in the detection and treatment of breast cancer patients”

Olivia Broyles (Mansfield), 17, Mansfield High School: “Type 2 diabetes on the rise”

Eva Chege (Lowell), 17, Lowell High School: “The science of retinopathy of prematurity”

Nellie Collier (Lowell), 17, Lowell High School: “Family medicine”

Tajahane Francis (Boston), 17, Boston Latin Academy: “Periodontitis”

Aaron Guerrier (Dorchester), 18, Academy of the Pacific Rim Charter Public School: “Knee – anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears”

Amy Huang (Quincy), 17, North Quincy High School: “Outbreaks of meningococcal disease in college students”

Hanna Hui (Allston), 16, Boston Latin School: “Cancer disparities in minority populations, with a focus on the Chinese population”

Christopher Kim (Roslindale), 18, Boston Latin School: “Halitosis – making a great first impression”

George Kubai (Lowell), 17, Lowell High School: “HIV/AIDS: Understand the fundamentals, know the details, protect yourself”

Liz Mariluz (Roxbury), 18, St. Joseph Prep School: “Flavonoids and cardiovascular health”

Grace Mungai (Lynn), 17, Lynn English High School: “Periodontitis”

Dakorite Ojuka (Randolph), 18, Dexter Southfield: “Social media’s effect on healthcare”

Yolanda Okundaye (Dorchester), 16, New Mission High School: “Pelvic organ prolapse”

Ashley Philibert (Quincy), 17, Quincy High School: “Flavonoids and cardiovascular health”

Reybekah Plaisir (Lowell), 17, Lowell High School: “Lyme disease/infectious Lyme”

Yaa Konama Pokuaa (Lowell), 18, Lowell High School: “The prevalence of retinopathy of prematurity given two risk factors”

Destiny Porte (Lynn), 16, KIPP Academy Lynn Collegiate High School: “Variations in blood pressure in nonarteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy”

Indumathi (Indu) Prakash (Sharon), 16, Sharon High School: “Characterization of newly generated transgenic mice to label astrocytes”

Brianna Smith (Milford), 16, Whitinsville Christian School: “Bruxism”

Brian Szeto (Boston), 16, Boston Latin School: “Asthma”

Samaria Thomas (Boston), 17, Muriel S. Snowden International School: “Bruxism”

Kristen Tran (Quincy), 17, Quincy High School: “The effects of diabetes on oral health”

Lakya Wyche (Springfield), 18, Springfield Central High School: “Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy”

At the end of the program, a closing ceremony booklet shares a bit of the students’ biographies, their experiences from their time in the program, and what they have learned. Reflections from this year’s students include:

I have had the opportunity to shadow medical assistants, a nurse practitioner, a pharmacist, a physician’s assistant, as well as several physicians. I have been able to observe a resident lecture, a pre-clinic session with residents, and a number of programs focused on diabetes education. My experience has been fascinating…

This program has really solidified my interest in medicine and I am extremely grateful to have taken part in it…I hope to continue the relationships I’ve formed with my mentor and instructors.

Working in the neuroscience lab has made me decide for sure that I definitely want to pursue a future in the field of medicine. I will never forget the summer I shared with such great people as the ones I met in TAHSS.

The institutions hosting the students this year are Tufts University School of Medicine, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, Tufts Medical Center, and Baystate Medical Center.

The Teachers and High School Students program is one of Tufts’ signature initiatives to mentor students of diverse backgrounds with aspirations of careers in medicine, biomedical sciences, and health. It is one of a number of pipeline programs at Tufts University School of Medicine and the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences. Tufts offers programs for students in middle school, high school, and college, as well as college graduates.

The Teachers and High School Students Program is funded by Tufts University School of Medicine.

About Tufts University School of Medicine and the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences

Tufts University School of Medicine and the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences are international leaders in medical and population health education and advanced research. Tufts University School of Medicine emphasizes rigorous fundamentals in a dynamic learning environment to educate physicians, scientists, and public health professionals to become leaders in their fields. The School of Medicine and the Sackler School are renowned for excellence in education in general medicine, the biomedical sciences, and public health, as well as for research at the cellular, molecular, and population health level. The School of Medicine is affiliated with six major teaching hospitals and more than 30 health care facilities. Tufts University School of Medicine and the Sackler School undertake research that is consistently rated among the highest in the nation for its effect on the advancement of medical and prevention science.


A note regarding the above references to the Sackler School: In December 2019, Tufts University announced that it would remove the Sackler name from all programs and facilities—including the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences. At that time, the school was renamed the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. 

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