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 patient-centered, 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 Interns) to a year-long program to work as Direct Service Professionals with individuals with ASD/IDD in practicum sites, such as day habilitation programs and community-based habilitation field sites.  Interns will pursue a certificate program in a related field through weekly seminars, coursework, and field trips.  Interns 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 UMass Chan Medical School.

Applications for the 2024-2025 academic year (September through June) are currently being accepted. You must have a bachelor’s degree by June 2024. 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 Director


E.K. Shriver Center, UMass Chan Medical School

55 Lake Avenue North, Worcester, MA 01655

Education & Training

PIHC in the News

See PIHC program featured on WCVB Channel 5 Boston!