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Hello, my name is . . . Robert E. Layne

On Mondays, the Daily Voice introduces you to a member of the UMass Medical School community—could be a new face, or maybe one that’s has been around for a while. We’ve asked our subjects to answer a few questions that might give you insight into their personalities. If you have a suggestion as to someone who might be profiled, let us know at

Robert E. Layne is director of Outreach Programs and the Worcester Pipeline Collaborative. He’s been with UMass Medical School since September 1996. R. Layne

What brought you here to UMass Medical School?

I was hired initially to coordinate the Worcester Pipeline Collaborative.

What do you love most about the work that you do?

I love that I get to meet students of all ages who are interesting, talented and eager to learn about careers in health care, biotechnology and biomedical research. I have had success and the opportunity to grow and become the director of three UMMS outreach programs. The icing on the cake is that some of these students end up here in the SOM, GSBS and the GSN. Additionally, some are also hired by UMass Memorial Medical Center in clinical departments.

What is the practical application of your work?

A. To provide academic enrichment and career exploration to students who are from groups that are educationally and/or economically disadvantaged or underrepresented in the health professions and biomedical research.
B. To explain to students, their families and their teachers about the academic and social skills required for them to become more competitive candidates to apply to professional schools.

Which trait do you most admire in yourself?

I admire my ability to get along with most people who I meet.

What’s the question you’re most often asked about your work – and the answer?

The most frequently asked question is: “What is the Worcester Pipeline Collaborative (WPC)?” I usually give a brief history and explain the concept of the “Pipeline” as a seamless K-20 academic approach to helping students gain access to the health professions and biomedical research, then list the partners that are involved in the partnership and their role in the collaborative. I describe the opportunities provided to students participating in the WPC programs. FYI, the long long-awaited move of the WPC from City Campus to the New North High School is finally a reality. As of this week, the WPC is now officially located in the new North High School at 140 Harrington Way in Worcester. We are located on the third floor with the Health Science Academy.

Describe yourself in six words or fewer.

I describe myself in six words as: personable, positive, direct, caring, competent and effective.

If you were stranded on a deserted island, name three things you would want.

Depending on the length of time, I would want water, shelter and my honey-bunny.

If you could have dinner with a famous person, living or dead, who would that be?

It would have to be Nelson Mandela to gain some insight to his wisdom and determination.

What’s book have you read most recently?

The most recent book I read was The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Her cells, known as HeLa cells, are still used in research today.

What are some of your hobbies/interests outside of work?

For over 40 years, I have been involved in the sport of dog showing. I have bred, exhibited and owned more than 40 champion dogs, mostly Great Danes. I have campaigned two breeds to the number-one spot back in the ’90s. I am currently an AKC licensed judge, and I had the pleasure of traveling and judging in New Zealand and Australia, in addition to 40 of the states. My second hobby is listening and loving gospel music. I co-managed Yolanda Adams during the first six year of her career. I attended the Grammy Awards, when her “Through the Storm” CD was nominated for a Grammy.

What do you consider the most interesting thing about yourself that most people might not know (and you would want to tell them).

I am an excellent cook. I have prepared gumbo for 300 people at several past African American Festivals and soups for the Beggars’ Bowl sponsored by the Worcester Inter-Faith. I also enjoy interior decorating and assisted friends decorating their homes. I am the proud grand-papi of a year-old grandson.