High School Outreach – Radiology: Giving Back to New York City

High School Outreach – Radiology: Giving Back to New York City


The High School Outreach — Radiology: Giving Back to New York City program was launched in 2004 by MSK Department of Radiology Chair Hedvig Hricak. The program’s goal is to provide opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to students from New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) schools. With her longtime interest in education, Dr. Hricak wanted to provide cutting-edge learning opportunities to high school students from New York City. With more than 1 million students, the NYCDOE system is the largest school district in the United States. Nearly 74% of students are economically disadvantaged. [1

Each year, select high school juniors who are enrolled in Career and Technical Education programs in NYCDOE public high schools are invited to participate in an essay writing competition. Students are asked to research the field of radiology and write an essay on a specific topic. The essays are judged through a two-tier system and prizes are awarded. The overall goal of the program is to inspire and educate students and teachers about careers in healthcare with a focus on radiology and STEM.

Students are invited to MSK for an educational day comprising lectures, hands-on activities in radiology technology, information about possible STEM careers, team-building activities, and a career panel with members from the MSK team. Students are encouraged to ask questions about possible career paths. Currently about 115 students participate in the event each year. Winners of the essay contest are announced on this day. 

Through the ongoing collaboration of Drs. Hricak and Karen Hubbard, Co-Leaders of the Research and Education Core of the NIH-funded CCNY-MSKCC U54 Partnership, the program has been able to offer five summer STEM internships, which are supported by the CCNY-MSKCC U54 Partnership grant (U54CA137788).  

Note from the Founder

Hedvig Hricak

Hedvig Hricak

As I reflect upon our program over the last 16 years, I think back to 2004 when we hosted 37 students in a classroom at MSK. It has been wonderful to see the program develop over the years. In 2013 — our 10th anniversary — we were given a proclamation by the Council of the City of New York for our collaborative efforts to “stimulate the growth and vitality of our City’s economy by preparing young people for their future life’s study and work.” The Council proclaimed April 19, 2013 to be Radiology/Science Careers and Exploration Day for High School Juniors in New York City. Since those early days our program has tripled in size and we are able to reach more and more students.

One thing never changes: Each and every year I am moved by the dedication of the teachers and our colleagues at the New York City Department of Education. It is clear that with their dedication and commitment to education students can excel and build brighter lives. The students’ essays seem to get more sophisticated every year. They show empathy for those in underserved populations around the world. These thoughtful, intelligent essays continue to inspire leaders in the field. I feel privileged to work with this team and feel confident that these students are exceptional and are our future leaders of tomorrow.

In closing, I would like to extend a special thank you to Joshua Chaim, Assistant Attending Radiologist from the Department of Radiology at MSK and Sheila Fortunato, Program/Community Outreach Manager of the Department of Radiology at MSK. Through their continued efforts and commitment to outreach, they have enabled our vision for the exceptional students and teachers from the NYCDOE.

Hedvig Hricak, Chair, Department of Radiology

Partners and Colleagues

New York City Department of Education

Our partners from the Career and Technical Education at the Office of Postsecondary Readiness at the New York City Department of Education work endlessly to provide cutting-edge learning opportunities, life-changing experiences, and job opportunities for the students enrolled in NYCDOE schools. We applaud them. In particular we appreciate our team at the NYCDOE:

Laura Buck is the Industry Engagement Manager of Career and Secondary Education at the Office of Postsecondary Readiness. She has been instrumental in the growth of the program over the last three years.

Radiology Partners

Sara J. Abramson, MD, FACR, Emeritus, Attending Radiologist, Department of Radiology, MSK

Jacqueline Bello, MD, Professor of Clinical Radiology and Neurosurgery, Director of Neuroradiology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center

David Mirsky, MD, Associate Professor, Pediatric Radiology, University of Colorado

Drs. Abramson, Bello, and Mirsky have been with the program from the start; they are committed to the students and teachers of the NYCDOE.

CCNY-MSKCC Partnership

Karen Hubbard, PhD, is an educator and Professor of Biology at the City College of New York. She has a strong commitment to academic excellence for all students, especially for those in underserved populations. She has been PI of the NIH-funded CCNY-MSKCC Partnership grant since 2002 and since 2009 she has collaborated with Dr. Hricak to develop programs to increase the numbers of competitively trained, underrepresented minority and low-income students who enroll in and complete MD, PhD, DO, and MD/PhD programs and who pursue cancer-related research careers. In 2014 they began working together on Radiology: Giving Back to NYC. It is a natural progression on their goal to provide opportunities for trainees.

New York Roentgen Foundation

The New York Roentgen Foundation has been a long-time supporter of Radiology: Giving Back to NYC. We appreciate their continued support of the teachers of the NYCDOE.

2020 Essay Contest Winners

Chloe Lam, Tottenville High School

Chloe Lam

Christina Canalini, High School for Health Professions & Human Services

Jennifer Orjuela, Curtis High School

Jennifer Orjuela

Mashal Burney, Thomas A. Edison Career & Technical Education High School

2019 Essay Contest Winners

Emily Zhivotovski, Staten Island Technical High School

Emily Zhivotovski

Joshua Rosario, Thomas A. Edison Career and Technical Education High School

Julia Birman, Tottenville High School

Julia Birman

Meena Hosny, Tottenville High School

Meena Hosny

Haley Keingstein, High School for Health Professions and Human Services

Haley Keingstein

Anling Chen, Staten Island Technical High School

Melanie Martinez, Curtis High School