Around 10 University at Albany sophomores will be accepted into medical school later this year as part of a new partnership UAlbany and the Albany Medical College announced Friday.
The schools are looking to establish a pipeline that sets students underrepresented in medicine on a clear path from undergraduate to medical school, providing mentors, clinical experiences and a group of like-minded students who will motivate one another through their school work.
The Early Assurance Pathway Program will target students from demographics chronically underrepresented in the medical field, as well as first-generation and low-income students.
"This approach creates a social group of students who are learning together, working together under the mentorship of physicians from Albany Medical Center," said Laura Schweitzer, UAlbany vice president of health science.
A group of about two dozen sophomores have been identified based on their background and academic record as being eligible to apply for the program. Those students will be invited to apply for the program by June, and an admissions panel from the medical college will accept up to 10 students as the first cohort of the new program. If they meet certain requirements while still undergraduates, the students are guranteed acceptance into the medical school - if they also commit to not apply to other schools. Each year a new crop of sophomores will apply for the program in their second semester, with acceptances goign out over the summer.
Schweitzer said the new program has been in the works for about a year. After she saw an article that showed the demographics of medical students hadn't chagned for decades, she went to officials at the medical college and said, "We need to do something about this."
Students from underrepresented groups often fall off course to attend medical school as they progress through their undergraduate students, she said. So the program aims to bolster their efforts with explicit supports and a group of peers on a similar mission.
"We have really smart students who with a little help can be a solution to national scarcity," Schweitzer said.