Philanthropy supports collaborative oncology scholars program for Rutgers nursing and physician assistant students

November 4, 2021

Cancer patients face many challenges in accessing the care they need, especially those living in under-resourced communities. It is the mission of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences to train the next generation of health care professionals who can understand and respond to challenges of access and equity.

Now, thanks to the collaborative vision of Deans Gwendolyn Mahon and Linda Flynn and philanthropic support from Axiom REACH, the nonprofit arm of the New Jersey-based oncology and rare disease think tank Axiom Healthcare Strategies (HCS), training for a new dynamic cohort of oncology health professionals is possible.

Inspired by discussions of the future of oncology care, the partners joined together to create and develop the A.R.G.O.S (Axiom REACH Graduate Oncology Scholars) program, a three-year, full-tuition, cohort-based program for selected students at Rutgers School of Health Professions and School of Nursing.

The program, which will launch in fall 2022, will support full tuition costs and an annual stipend for educational expenses for two M.S. Physician Assistant students and two B.S. in Nursing students who demonstrate an understanding of the challenges that may be faced by underrepresented populations accessing care in their respective fields and who want to learn about patient-facing cancer care.

The selected students will join a three-year cohort involving extra-curricular programming on the leading edge of oncology and interdisciplinary cancer care. They will also connect with Axiom REACH and HCS partners and mentors to share their progress; foster their cohort’s unique impact on individuals, communities, and futures; and develop their relationships with industry experts.

“Team Axiom and I are grateful and excited for this collaboration with Rutgers,” said Hafiz Sikder, Axiom’s founder and managing principal, “Our new A.R.G.O.S program embodies our mission at Axiom HCS and Axiom REACH to bring together minds, perspectives, and expertise to the betterment of our communities.”

The partnership is significant and aligns both with Axiom REACH’s commitment to make lives better for cancer patients—especially those living in divested, under-resourced communities—and with the commitments of the two Rutgers schools to educate the next generation of competent and compassionate caregivers.

“Partnerships with like-minded organizations like Axiom REACH support our commitment to equity and ensures that we are developing a pipeline of health care providers who reflect the diverse communities our graduates will go on to serve,” said Gwendolyn M. Mahon (MSc., PhD), professor and dean of Rutgers School of Health Professions.

“We are excited to partner with Axiom REACH and the School of Health Professions in this innovative scholarship venture,” said Linda Flynn (PhD, RN, FAAN) professor and dean of Rutgers School of Nursing. “Through this partnership, we commit to addressing the challenges faced by our diverse student body – from financial barriers to lack of mentorship – and to an inclusive education for all.”