Message from the Executive Director:

February, 2021

Dear Friend,

Thank you for your interest in the Manhattan Staten Island Area Health Education Center (MSI AHEC) and welcome to our website.

As we begin the year with the promise of a new commitment to science and increased resources dedicated to the prevention, treatment and study of COVID 19 we are hopeful but know that the pandemic continues to have devastating consequences. In New York State nearly 40,000 people have died, disproportionately people of color and those living in medically underserved communities. The pandemic has further exposed racial disparities in health care and has had an immediate impact on MSI AHEC.

MSI AHEC’s work to Address Health Equity Challenges will bring about greater diversity in the health professions could not be more critical. We are committed to developing and delivering high level health professions education, exposure and experience for underrepresented students in our region’s medically underserved communities.

Historically, we have met our mission through our three primary in-person internship “pipeline” programs with structured curriculum and placements at health care organizations and hospital facilities throughout New York City. The reality of COVID 19 and the public health safety protocols in 2020, however, required that we reach our students virtually.

We got to work doing what we do best to reach young people interested in the path to a career in health care. My Program Manager and I developed a comprehensive curriculum, and coordinated with partners, to launch our Summer Virtual Health Bootcamp for the high school/early college students, and the Virtual Friday Lecture Series for our medical students. In November 2020 we began our COVID-19 Speaker Series. This virtual program and learning exchange was developed for health professions students, preparing to enter the workforce.

To date we have had close to 250 students participate in our virtual programs which are continuing in 2021. Our presenters covered topics including exploring health careers, health disparities, public health/COVID, community health advocacy, epidemiology, and emergency medicine. Instructors spoke to our medical students about structural racism, trauma-informed care, developing community-based health care, and more.

I encourage students to use the information here as you pursue the health profession of your choice. I also encourage parents to use this website to identify resources that will assist your children in achieving their educational and career goals, and I encourage professionals in all areas of health care and experience to join us in providing opportunities for underrepresented individuals to experience and learn from the health care industry.

As Executive Director of MSI AHEC I am thankful to all the frontline health care professionals who continue to provide leadership, and direct care to those impacted by COVID 19.

To the next generation of health care professionals please stay focused and inspired. Keep learning and know that your path is paved by those who have walked it before, like Dr. Muriel Petioni (1914-2011) whom we honor each year through our Champions of Diversity Awards.

I hope to hear from you as MSI AHEC expands resources and learning opportunities to increase diversity in the health professions and improve access to care in communities most in need.

Mary J. Mitchell
Executive Director


Mary Mitchell, MPA, Executive Director:

Marcia Jackson, Program Manager:

Felicia Stevens, Finance Manager

Mary Breen, Volunteer


Vivian Torres-Suarez, MBA, BSN, RN


Vice President, Clinical Operations

Somo Innovator

Justin T. Brown, PhD, MPH

Vice Chair

Associate Professor, Health Sciences, CUNY

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Program Director, Public & Community Health, CUNY

LaGuardia Community College, CUNY

Executive Director, The Center for LGBTQ Studies (CLAGS)

The Graduate Center, CUNY

Shena Elrington, JD

Senior Director

Contracting & Compliance

Maimonides Medical Center

Brooklyn, New York

Maxine Golub, MPH

Senior Vice President

Planning and Development

Institute For Family Health

New York, New York

Robert T. Maruca, Jr., MPA

 Associate Provost for Planning

Office of Academic Affairs – CUNY

New York, New York

Victor Mosquera, MPA


Aetna Better Health of New York

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Business Development and Strategic Marketing

Tanya Rogo, MD, MPH&TM, FAAP

Assoc Pediatric Program Director

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BronxCare Health System

Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics,

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Student testimonials: 

The MSI AHEC experience

Participating in MSI AHEC opened my eyes to a whole new medical world I had never seen before and I’m so grateful to MSI AHEC for allowing me to explore the medical field first hand.

Lucrese Tato

The Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education, New York, NY

Before this experience, I had some serious doubts about going into healthcare, but after six weeks of hands on experience, I am glad to say that many of my doubts have been resolved, thanks to the wonderful talks and didactics that you made possible.

Oliver Cain

Stuyvesant High School New York, NY

I am always grateful for the opportunities MSI-AHEC provided me. I was placed in various volunteering placement and research through the CHSC program of City College. Throughout volunteering and the internship, my whole perspective of our health care system has changed. I am determined to serve the underprivileged and underrepresented communities.

SM Alif Al Amin

The City College of New York, NY