The Creating Pathways and Access for Student Success™ (CPASS) Foundation was created to attract, encourage, educate, guide, and increase the number of promising, yet underrepresented Illinois students in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEMM) related professions. We are committed to providing a holistic educational foundation and exclusive access to career development resources for students to persist in STEMM careers.

CPASS’ predecessor program, Chicago Area Health and Medical Careers Program™ (CAHMCP) has been in place since 1979 and has primarily focused on increasing the number of qualified underrepresented minority applicants and matriculants from the city of Chicago to medical and other health professional schools.


Our Mission

CPASS provides STEMM programming for underrepresented Illinois students while impacting policy change, providing access to valuable STEMM programs, empowering their STEMM identity, supporting them to excel as advocates, and lead social justice efforts in their home communities.


Our Vision

CPASS will be the premier pipeline organization for underserved students to persist in STEMM careers and dismantle health inequity.

Offering Exposure & Opportunities

A STEMM education is your pathway to a career in exciting technology-based fields. We offer exposure to STEMM careers in medicine and other fields. We partner with universities, medical schools, and other organizations, providing enrichment opportunities that strengthen academic skills. Our clearinghouse lets you find your best program.

Who We Are

We introduce traditionally underrepresented middle school, high school and college students to STEMM subjects, majors and training. We encourage them to learn about the curricula, unique benefits and the ever-growing job opportunities that STEMM-based companies like tech and health care offer. Our goal is to create multiple opportunities so Illinois-based students can participate in STEMM-related activities, receive an invaluable education and continually grow in this intriguing field. The more they learn about STEMM, the more career opportunities – and confidence – our students can expect.

Learn about STEAM Programs, Camps, and activities

What We Offer

We educate students to realize STEMM careers have expanded far beyond tech and into medicine and other health-related and creative fields. We partner with universities, medical schools and other organizations to provide rewarding enrichment opportunities that strengthen STEMM-based skills. After school, weekend and summer programs are available for every student. A quick search for programs in your neighborhood should produce a list of STEMM-focused courses, majors and activities.

Our Partners

We partner with leading universities in and around the State of Illinois, as well as an innovative nonprofit organization on the South Side of Chicago to offer hands-on STEMM and STEAM programs for underrepresented grade school, middle school and high school-level students. These pivotal, beneficial programs, camps and activities will help them launch into careers and lives they may never considered possible. We are grateful to call the following our partners and friends:
Institute of Medicine of Chicago logo

Institute of Medicine of Chicago

Health & Medicine Policy Research Group logo

Health & Medicine Policy Research

Southern Illinois University (SIU) - Carbondale building

SIU Carbondale

MAPSCorps logo


logo for the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago
The Museum of Science & Industry
Lewis University logo

Lewis University

Rush University Mini-Medical School building

Rush University Mini-Medical School

Logo for STEMM Summer Camp by Governors State University


Rosalind Franklin University building

Rosalind Franklin University

University of Illinois Chicago logo

University of Illinois Chicago

Vertical logo for The Chicago School

The Chicago School

Our History

The CPASS Foundation builds upon the successes of the Chicago Area Health and Medical Careers Program™ (CAHMCP, known as “Champs”). Founded in 1979 at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), this was a pipeline program for underrepresented high school and college students. CAHMCP prepared motivated students for careers in healthcare and medicine by showing them that they could succeed in these fields. The instruction included hands-on activities and field trips, as well as counseling for graduate school and medical college admission tests.

What We Learned

What we learned from CAHMCP is that underrepresented students should start preparing for STEMM careers much earlier. We needed to begin our program in middle school, so that students would be motivated to form good study habits. We also needed to take a broader view of technology-based medical careers for underrepresented students.

Looking to the Future

Established in 2018, the CPASS Foundation is the second chapter in our story. The CPASS Foundation exposes underrepresented students to the wide range of career paths open to them. Mentoring and hands-on instruction help students prepare for a great future in STEMM. We invite alumni of the CAHMCP program to work with us, as mentors, donors, and shining examples of career success for underrepresented students.

Study Tips for STEMM Students [Guide]

Get your free Quick Guide to become a successful S.T.E.M student.

Use our search tool to find STEMM programs near you in the areas that you’re interested in.

Our Staff

Executive Director

Stephen A. Martin, Jr., PhD, MPH

Associate Director

Tracie Screven

Program Director

Asia Lawrence

Our Board


Eric Whitaker, MD, MPH


Laura Lucero, MD

Secretary and Director

Terry Mason, MD, FACS

Treasurer Director

William A. McDade, MD, PhD

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