The MERIT Health Leadership Academy is a comprehensive academic and career mentorship program supporting Baltimore high school students who aspire to careers in medicine.
MERIT scholars take advanced academic classes, work in hospitals and lab during paid summer internships, and receive long-term college and career mentorship.
Saturday College Prep Classes
MERIT scholars attend weekly academic sessions led by talented educators and esteemed medical professionals. Saturday Sessions provide students with a holistic foundation for a successful future in academics, social justice, and health care.
Health, Race, and Society
Introduction to Health Research Methods
Transition To College
MERIT opens my mind about different topics and gives me a different perspective. It gives me new experiences that other students would not be able to get.
- Amaya, Class of 2018
College Admissions Guidance
MERIT scholars and their families receive individualized support throughout the college admissions process. Juniors begin to develop their college application lists through individual counseling meetings, online research, and a multi-state spring break college tour. Senior scholars are guided through the college application process, learn tangible skills for college success, and explore issues relevant to success as first-generation college students.
Sophomore scholars completed a week-long trip from Baltimore down to Atlanta, visiting 13 or more colleges and universities. Throughout the year, we also visit many local colleges and universities. Through these tours, scholars gain exposure to a wide variety of college settings. Schools include private institutions, large public state universities, smaller liberal arts colleges, and historically black colleges. Through group discussions and journaling, students determine the factors most important to them, including student diversity, class sizes, geographical location, student organizations and cultural groups, and other factors.
Internships in Hospitals and Labs
MERIT’s summer internships provide life-changing career exposure, allowing scholars to observe medical procedures, interact with providers and patients, and experience a variety of clinical settings.
Rising juniors complete The Art of Medicine Internship, shadowing 20 different health care providers in various specialties including emergency medicine, pediatrics, primary care, surgery, OB/GYN, pharmacy, nursing, social work, and more.
Rising seniors participate in The Science of Medicine Internship, conducting independent research based on their interests under a laboratory mentor. These internships build professional skills, provide career exposure, and improve graduate-school readiness.
“The summer internship changed my daughter’s life. Before, she was interested in health care, but now she’s on fire. She has a clear picture of how to help Baltimore as a doctor and a plan of how to do it.”
- Towanda, Scholar Parent
MERIT matches each scholar with a mentor for three years during high school and a second College Support Coach after they graduate. Mentors are a key component of MERIT’s holistic support model. A MERIT mentor plays the role of college counselor, career mentor, academic tutor, and lifelong supporter. Mentors inspire our scholars to become socially conscious health care leaders in Baltimore and show them what it take to achieve this goal.
Dedicated undergraduate students, graduate students, and working professional in health science fields serve as our mentors. Mentor selection is highly selective, and we prioritize mentors who share the backgrounds of our scholars. This year, MERIT received almost three times as many applications as we had spots available.
“I have multiple people I can rely on to seek advice, help, support, or information from… I strive in this environment because everyone is welcoming.”
- Julius, Class of 2017