Pathways to Inclusive Health Care (PIHC)


Health disparities prevent the full integration of individuals with disabilities into society.  The unprecedented rate of individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and intellectual/ developmental disabilities (IDD) aging into adult services accentuates these health disparities due, in part, to a healthcare workforce that lacks adequate training and experience caring for those with ASD/IDD.  Modeled after Teach for America, Pathways to Inclusive Health Care (PIHC) will create a pipeline of healthcare professionals motivated and equipped to provide quality healthcare to this population. 

Pathways to Inclusive Health Care is housed within the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center at UMass Medical School.  The Shriver Center has been a pioneer in IDD research for over 4 decades, and our goal is to make PIHC one of the most innovative, disruptive and scalable programs in the nation to train future healthcare professionals to work with disabled populations.  Targeting pre-medical, dental, nurse practitioner and other pre-health professions students, PIHC seeks to recruit recent college graduates (called Scholars) to a year-long program to work as paraprofessionals with individuals with ASD/IDD in practicum sites, such as day habilitation programs, Chapter 766 schools, and integrated classrooms.  The scholars will pursue a certificate program in a related field through weekly seminars and field trips.  Additionally, each scholar will be paired with a mentor to guide the Scholar through the graduate school admissions process. During orientation, Scholars will receive the Registered Behavioral Technician™ training and credential. 

Applications for the 2020-2021 academic year (September through June) are currently being accepted. You must have a bachelor’s degree by June 2020.  If you are interested in becoming a healthcare professional who will make a difference in closing the health equity gap for those with ASD/IDD and other disabilities,  Pathways to Inclusive Health Care might be the right gap year program for you.         

For more information on  Pathways to Inclusive Health Care , please contact:

Pathways to Inclusive Health Care Scholarship Program
Attn: Susan Swanson, MA, CCC-SLP
PIHC Program Coordinator
Shriver Center/University of Massachusetts Medical School
55 Lake Avenue North, Worcester, MA 01655
TEL:  (774)-455-6552
FAX: (774)-445-6565

Applicant Qualifications

  • Recent undergraduate degree
  • Actively planning to pursue graduate degree in pre-medical, dental, nurse practitioner and other pre-health professions students
  • Interest in pursuing a career that would include treating persons diagnosed with ASD/IDD
  • Strong academic record
  • Ability to commit the time necessary to complete the program successfully


Applications for the 2020-2021 academic year (September through June) are currently being accepted.

  1. A completed application form
  2. A personal statement (see application for details)
  3. A professional reference
  4. Official transcript from undergraduate institution

PIHC Scholar Application Form (pdf) 

PIHC Scholar Application Form (doc)

PIHC Professional Reference Form(pdf)

PIHC Professional Reference Form (doc)

Please email completed applications to

© 2020 University of Massachusetts Medical School