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Educational Impact

STAR 2.0 empowers underrepresented students to pursue science

Philanthropic support of educational programming is helping Children’s Mercy gain ground developing a more representative medical and research workforce for the children of our community.

Eleven alumni participants of the STAR 2.0 program wearing PPE at Children's Mercy.
Alumni of the STAR 2.0 program received scholarships as they head to their first semester of college.

The cornerstone of health equity relies on developing and maintaining a medical and scientific workforce that reflects the general population as well as those who have not equally benefited from research and health care.

Underwritten by philanthropy, the Summer Training in Academic Research (STAR) 2.0 program was created to give high school students from racial and ethnic groups that are currently underrepresented in medicine and science an in-depth opportunity to build their interest and understanding of health care through a high-quality research experience at Children’s Mercy.

During the program, participants not only engage in a unique research project at the Children’s Mercy Research Institute, but also learn about clinical and translational research methodology, writing, statistics, medical ethics and career development from nearly 50 research staff and physicians while networking with other students and educators from across the country.

STAR 2.0 launched in the summer of 2021 with five students and an area middle school science teacher and doubled in size for the 2022 program. Within the next three years the program is expected to expand to include 25 students and five teacher participants every summer.

I came into the program indecisive about being either a nurse practitioner or a physician. Through the program I was able to speak with both nurse practitioners and pediatricians, who answered my questions and clarified the differences between the two careers. My confidence grew significantly throughout the program, and I am pursuing a career in medicine!

Sara, student and STAR 2.0 alumni

As a result of this unique initiative, program leaders, Bridgette Jones, MD, MSCR and Vickie Yarbrough, MA, BA, have observed that STAR 2.0 students have expanded their understanding of medical and science careers as well as their own interest and confidence in their capability to pursue such careers.

STAR 2.0 logo with includes the Children's Mercy icon of an adult with a dancing child. Words read: STAR 2.0 Summer Training in Academic Research.

Inspiring the next generation of pediatric health care leaders

Our community’s doctors, nurses and researchers train at Children’s Mercy. Your support of education means medical learners have access to world-class pediatric training and mentorship. This past year, 600 medical students, 100 pediatric residents and more than 1,400 nursing students played a crucial role in delivering compassionate care for patients and families.

Words read: 30+ subspecialty fellowships are offered at Children's Mercy, 75% of Kansas pediatricians trained at Children's Mercy, 24% of our Program Directors completed their residency at Children's Mercy, 47% of Program Directors completed a fellowship at Children's Mercy.

Nursing and allied health education

The many hours nursing and allied health professionals spend at the bedside and with families make them powerful innovators, change agents and advocates for children. Because of donor-funded scholarships, Children’s Mercy has more pediatric advanced practice nurses and specialty certified allied health professionals available to care for the children of our community than any other hospital in the region.

  • Since 1999, nearly $2.2 million in scholarships has been awarded to more than 1,700 recipients.

  • 162 nursing and allied health scholarships awarded in fiscal year 2023.

  • $254,260 total scholarship dollars awarded in fiscal year 2023.

Image of residents in the Children's Mercy Global Health rotation gathered around boxes filled with donated goods.

Thinking globally, acting locally

Residents in the Children’s Mercy Global Health rotation have created meaningful ways to reach refugee and immigrant populations in the community. Projects include the Winter Warmth project, the Bicycle Safety project and the COVID-19 project. Each project design comes from interviewing families and learning about their needs. Program materials are translated into eight languages and made available for future events.