CHICAGO—An immersive Medical Home Network (MHN) technology fellowship is delivering on its promise to invest in emerging talent from under-represented communities. Participants in the MHN Data Analytics Fellowship get firsthand experience with healthcare data, health analytics and programming skills, feeding the pipeline of new science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) professionals.
MHN, a nonprofit organization dedicated to transforming care and building healthier communities in the safety net, was founded by the Comer Family Foundation in 2009. The MHN Data Analytics Fellowship, launched in 2021, is offered in partnership with the foundation and UtmostU, the signature program of the Network for Young Adult Success (NYAS). NYAS provides college persistence and workforce development services to help students complete post-secondary degrees, secure jobs and work toward financial independence.
Data Science Fellowship Feeds STEM Education Pipeline
One of the fellows in the program, Oluwabusayo Adebayo, graduated in December with a bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois' Technical Systems Management program. Adebayo also distinguished himself during his studies. He was the co-founder of Voribe, a Chicago startup that empowers future Nigerian American leaders with the tools and connections they need to become successful professionals.
Although Adebayo had developed apps, the MHN fellowship gave him exposure to professionals in the field, data analytics and confidence to explore new career options. "My goal is to go to Silicon Valley one day and start my own company," said Adebayo.
Genesis Martin, who is halfway through her yearlong fellowship, studied business economics at Harold Washington College and plans to pursue a bachelor's degree in data analytics. She says the program has helped her in many ways, including encouraging her to ask questions while engaging in STEM-topics that can often be complex.
"That's one of the things that I think a lot of people struggle with is not knowing when to ask questions if you're confused or when you're stuck on something because they think it's a bad thing, but it's actually not," said Martin. "That's something I can take with me."
Adebayo and Martin are both graduates of Gary Comer College Prep in Chicago's South Side neighborhood of Grand Crossing.
"Medical Home Network is thrilled to invest back into the communities we serve through programs like our Data Analytics fellowship," said Cheryl Lulias, president and CEO at MHN. "We were fortunate to have amazing young people like Oluwabusayo and Genesis as part of our inaugural program, and we look forward to seeing the great things they will accomplish in the future."
Health Analytics Projects Connect Data to Patients
The fellows build professional skills and relationships, learning about health plan operations and healthcare administration processes as they contribute to the MHN data analytics team.
Their activities are integrated directly into MHN's workflow. Initial projects during the full-time internship focus on understanding healthcare data concepts, problem-solving and analysis. As part of his training, Adebayo learned new software programs and programming languages. He helped develop a dashboard that will streamline the flow of data and communications from providers and pharmacies.
Mentorship was an important part of the program, Adebayo said. His mentors helped him navigate unfamiliar concepts and guided him through the development process. Adebayo concluded his fellowship by giving a presentation on the purpose and impact of his project.
Martin's time at MHN has included creating software user guides to help train care managers. She is also learning what data points are most critical to the relationship between care managers and patients. The new software helps the care managers better connect with their patients and track their health status in real time.
Adebayo and Martin said they are not only building skills to help secure employment in a high-demand field but also gaining confidence they can take with them in any career path.
About Medical Home Network
Medical Home Network (MHN) is transforming care in the safety net and building healthier communities. MHN, which was selected as one of the 2021 Best Places to Work in Healthcare, builds partnerships in the community to connect key stakeholders, from comprehensive primary care to community-based organizations. MHN enables healthcare providers to deliver integrated care. Our care teams build trusted relationships with patients and coordinate care with a focus on whole person health. The MHN model of care is powered by proprietary technology that enhances collaboration among community-based entities, which leads to improved outcomes, lower costs and reduced health disparities. Learn more at medicalhomenetwork.org and on LinkedIn.
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In alignment with our mission, Medical Home Network strives to create a work environment that supports equality, diversity of thought, and makes all people feel welcome. As an organization, our core values of equity, equality, diversity and inclusion guide the work we do, the relationships we build, and the way we recruit, develop and retain our people. We recognize this process is a journey, and we stand firm in our commitment to learn and change, champion diversity, and hold ourselves accountable.
Medical Home Network also invests in meaningful programming such as internships and fellowships that help young adults from under-resourced communities gain work experience in order to land quality jobs after college. In addition, MHN provides targeted financial support to community-based organizations that empower, educate and provide opportunities for low-income individuals and families and help them build stable futures.