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Robert Layne named assistant dean for outreach programs

Longtime educator, mentor and role model will build on legacy in new, expanded role

  Assistant Dean for Outreach Programs Robert Layne (center) is pictured with the High School Health Careers Class of 2017.

Assistant Dean for Outreach Programs Robert Layne (center) is pictured with the High School Health Careers Class of 2017.

Longtime educator, mentor and role model Robert Layne, MEd, has been promoted to assistant dean for outreach programs and instructor in radiology at UMass Medical School. In the newly created role, Layne will build on his legacy of bringing students underrepresented in health care careers into the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education pipeline by engaging with greater Worcester’s public schools, institutions of higher education, businesses, human service agencies—and above all, the region’s youth. Layne has directed outreach programs at UMMS since 1996.

"It has always been about the students, and engaging them in a variety of learning experiences that strengthen their academic and social skills to improve their ability to successfully pursue careers in STEM,” Layne said. “In today's world, a thorough command of content and skills must be merged with a sense of professionalism, critical thinking, problem solving and sound decision-making skills in order for students to earn a place among the highly competitive applicant pool of STEM candidates, ergo the health careers outreach program difference.”

UMass Medical School offers an array of mentoring, job shadowing, internship, summer employment, laboratory research and after-school science programs, as well as academic support for students from middle school through college. Each year, these programs expose hundreds of young people from Worcester, as well as from across the state and the country, to the exciting opportunities that health and science careers bring.

Layne is the chief representative, liaison and connection to the Worcester community in his role overseeing the Summer Enrichment Program for college students, the High School Health Careers Program and the Worcester Pipeline Collaborative K–12 outreach program. Each program is designed to motivate and prepare students from disadvantaged backgrounds and underrepresented minorities for careers in the health sciences. Layne and colleagues in the Office of School Services also host the annual high school Health Care Career Expo and support the Baccalaureate MD Pathway for qualified students from all four UMass undergraduate campuses.

“The Assistant Dean for Outreach Programs position was created to reflect the responsibilities and leadership that Robert has displayed over the last several years in his role as the manager of these programs,” said Brian Lewis, PhD, associate dean for diversity and prematriculation programs in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and associate professor of molecular, cell & cancer biology. “Our leadership recognizes the importance of these programs to the institutional mission and the impact that the outreach programs have on our community.”

In 2016, Layne received the UMMS Chancellor’s Award for Advancing the UMMS Mission.

“These pipeline and enrichment programs, thanks to your passionate and steadfast engagement, leverage the unique expertise that exists at our medical school to expose school-age students to STEM education and, more importantly, to a whole new world of opportunity,” Chancellor Michael F. Collins told Layne upon presenting the medal. “In each and every encounter—be it with a student, a parent, a teacher, an administrator, a partner or a community leader—you unfailingly espouse the values at the heart of our mission.”

In his new leadership role, Layne plans to expand program effectiveness by inviting more UMMS clinical and research departments to host student interns participating in the program.

"Keeping pace with changes in STEM careers, as well as a watchful eye on students’ interests and needs, along with developing community relationships and adding to our already impressive list of partners are among my responsibilities as assistant dean,” said Layne.

He also looks forward to growing institutional partnerships to give Worcester Pipeline Collaborative students additional and alternate learning opportunities, and providing additional guidance for medical students’ capstone projects.

Related stories on UMassMedNow:
Robert Layne recognized with Chancellor’s Award for Advancing UMMS Mission
Worcester Pipeline Collaborative celebrating 20 years
Telegram: Worcester Pipeline makes medical careers accessible for young people
UMass Medical School recognized for preparing youth for jobs
Hello, my name is . . . Robert E. Layne