Mentoring Program Gives Patients Work Experience
by Erin Carter
Case Manager Lorraine Montuori, LMSW, LCSW, wanted to develop a program in the Kathryn O. and Alan C. Greenberg Center for Skeletal Dysplasias (CSD) where people could see the broader scope of where their talents and abilities lie. Through the generosity of the Hodgson family, the mentoring program was created to show its patients the wide range of career opportunities available to them.
Skeletal dysplasia is an umbrella term for a group of more than 450 genetic conditions that are characterized by differences in the size and shape of the limbs, trunk, and/or skull that can impact stature. Now celebrating its 10th year at HSS, the mission of our Center is to improve the quality of life for all individuals with skeletal dysplasias through patient care, education, and research. Our multidisciplinary team looks beyond medical care to provide a more holistic approach to caring for people with skeletal dysplasias.
As part of this mission, the CSD Mentoring Program is aimed at patients (who are high school students, age 15 and up) to help them to acquire work skills that complement their abilities and enable them to see their own potential. Ideally, their participation in this program will help them to consider college or professional training to achieve a realistic career that will afford them a fulfilling adulthood. We are fortunate to work with young, talented people who should be encouraged to be self-sufficient adults.
“I had such a positive experience as a patient at HSS that I wanted to work here and be part of HSS,” said Danny Fava, the mentoring program’s first placement. Fava read about the mentoring program in the CSD newsletter and it appealed to him. Fava participated in a summer internship through the CSD Mentoring Program, working with Jahanara Ali, Ph.D., director of Technology Transfer. After completing his undergraduate degree, Fava currently works on Long Island.
“By providing an opportunity at an internship, the mentorship program hopes to instill confidence in its participants,” said Montuori. The CSD Mentoring Program allows teenage patients an opportunity to develop work skills. The program also assists patients in applying to colleges and vocational schools. All the internships are conducted at Hospital for Special Surgery, in departments that will best suit the participant. Due to our benefactor’s support, students can be compensated for travel expenses plus a stipend once successful completion of the internship is documented.
For more information about the CSD Mentoring Program, or to learn more about the work performed at the Kathryn O. and Alan C. Greenberg Center for Skeletal Dysplasias at HSS, please go to our page on the HSS website.
Erin Carter is a Clinical Coordinator and Genetic Counselor with the Kathryn O. and Alan C. Greenberg Center for Skeletal Dysplasias.