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Pathways to Inclusive Health Care Program

Pathways to Inclusive Health Care Program (PIHC) is an innovative program that trains future healthcare professionals to work with disabled populations.

The application cycle for the 2023-2024 academic year is OPEN.

PIHC in Plain Language

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. 

The PIHC program is housed within the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center at UMass Chan Medical School.  The Shriver Center has been a pioneer in IDD research, training, and service for five decades. PIHC is an innovative program that trains 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, private schools for children and youth with disabilities, and integrated classrooms.  The scholars will pursue a certificate program in a related field through weekly seminars, coursework, and field trips.  Scholars will receive weekly mentoring on their experiences and future professional education plans.  Upon completion of the program, Scholars will receive a certificate of completion from the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Applications for the 2023-2024 academic year (September through June) are currently being accepted. You must have a bachelor’s degree by June 2023. 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 (PIHC) 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


E.K. Shriver Center, University of Massachusetts Medical School

55 Lake Avenue North, Worcester, MA 01655

Education & Training

PIHC Education & Training

The post-baccalaureate training program is designed for motivated individuals planning to pursue an advanced degree in a health care profession and who wish to be at the forefront of the future healthcare workforce, uniquely trained and positioned to address the unmet healthcare needs of persons diagnosed with ID, ASD, and/or NDD.

Program Team

The PIHC team bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the Pathways to Inclusive Health program.

person using white board

PIHC in the News

See PIHC program featured on WCVB Channel 5 Boston!