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POP Scholarship Luncheon celebrates NWI students

Project Outreach and Prevention on Youth Violence, Inc. (POP) held its 3rd Annual Scholarship Luncheon on July 21 at the Avalon Manor in Merrillville, Indiana, concluding its Summer Health Professions Enrichment Program (HPEP). The POP Health Professions Enrichment Program mission is to recruit, retain, and graduate underserved racial/ethnic minority students, specifically African Americans and Latinos, in Northwest Indiana (NWI) and the Chicagoland area in the health professions, and to expand their medical educational opportunities. HPEP introduces gifted, serious-minded underserved minority high school students to health careers in medicine and dentistry, including careers as advanced nurse practitioners, and physicians’ assistants.

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POP Founders – Dr. Reuben Rutland and Dr. Michael McGee present Indiana State Representative Charlie Brown with an Award of Appreciation for Public Service to NWI.

The multi-partnership program utilizes surrounding academic and community settings such as The Methodist Hospitals, Indiana University Northwest (IUN), Purdue University Calumet, Community Health Net and Marram Health Clinics, and physicians’ and dentists’ offices.

The five-day program serviced approximately 30 students from Northwest Indiana schools such as the Crown Point, Griffith, Merrillville, Hobart, Portage, Wirt-Emerson high schools, as well as Illinois students from Mount Carmel, Bloom Trail, and Rich Central high schools.

Preparatory College Skills (best practices for excelling in high school, college, and on standardized exams), CPR/Basic Life Saving Skills, Stop the Bleed Initiative, and suturing were also taught. Students had group panel discussions with medical and dental professionals, including physicians, nursing students, nurse practitioners and physicians’ assistants. On the last day of the program, students visited Community Health Net and Marram Clinic and shadowed minority surgeons, dentists, anesthesiologists, primary care doctors, and nurses in order to further introduce them to careers in medicine and dentistry. Attendees received Heart Saver Certifications sponsored by the POP Foundation.

HPEP student participants at Indiana University Northwest.

The 3rd Annual POP Scholarship “Not One More Life, One More Day” Luncheon at the Avalon Manor on Saturday, July 21 was attended by students, parents, physicians, and nurse preceptors, as well as representatives from Indiana University NW, Purdue NW, the Methodist Hospitals, Community Health Net and Marram Clinic.

The highlight of the evening was the presentation of the Certificate of Completion for high school students completing the Summer HPEP Program, and the presentation of eight scholarships to graduating minority seniors and former HPEP participants accepted into colleges/universities majoring in medicine, dentistry, and nursing.

PICTURED L-R: Gary Police Chief Richard Allen, Keynote Speaker Bishop Joseph Wilson, Founder “Civility Counts,” and Northwest Indiana Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Chuck Hughes.

Speakers included Gary Chief of Police Richard Allen, Indiana State Representative Charlie Brown, and Gospel Rejoice FM 101 personality, Keno. Motivational keynote speaker was Bishop Joseph Wilson MD, founder and executive director and author of “How to Keep Your Dreams Alive” and co-author of “Discover the Miracle in your House.” Peace activist Tre Boswell from St. Sabina Church and a national speaker for the “March for our Lives Peace Rally” in Washington, DC also spoke.

HPEP students learn CPR/BLS at IUN.

Award recipients for outstanding work with youth in NWI included Founder of “Civility Counts” Chuck Hughes (Community Youth Leadership Award); Martial Artist Master Sensei Marvin Clark (Role Model Award); and Chicago St. Sabina Church violence prevention expert and founder of antiviolence youth program Bold Resistance Against Violence Everywhere (B.R.A.V.E.) Pam Boswell (Youth Violence Prevention Award).

To stay current on the foundation’s projects and activities with youth visit POP’s Facebook page at: For more information, or to make donations to POP on Youth Violence, go to or

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