Field of Work: Workforce diversification
Problem Synopsis: Racial and ethnic minorities have long been underrepresented in medicine and dentistry. Non-minorities from disadvantaged circumstances also face special challenges to entering the medical and dental professions.
Synopsis of the Work: The Summer Medical and Dental Education Program is a free six-week academic enrichment summer program to help qualified undergraduate students from minority and disadvantaged backgrounds compete successfully for medical and dental school admission.
RWJF launched the program in 1987 to help pre-med students from underrepresented minority groups and subsequently expanded the focus—in 2003 to include students based on socioeconomic factors regardless of race and ethnicity and in 2005 to add students interested in dentistry.
The program is open to incoming sophomores, juniors and, in rare instances, academically advanced rising freshmen.
Each of 12 participating universities enrolls 80 students a summer and provides instruction in basic science and math, help with writing and oral presentation, development of learning and study skills, exposure to health policy issues, assistance in financial planning and a clinical experience.
Key Results: From the first summer session in 1989 through 2010, a total of 19,441 students participated in the enrichment program. The vast majority—14,659—participated during the years 1989–2005 when the program was for pre-med students only. Of those 14,659 participants:
- 64.5 percent (9,458) subsequently applied to medical school.
- Of the medical school applicants, 65.7 percent (6,216) were accepted.
- Of those accepted, 98.4 percent (6,118) entered medical school.
- Of those who entered medical school, 75.8 percent (4,637) have graduated to date.
From 2006, when the program began accepting pre-dental students, through the 2010 session, a total of 4,782 students participated—81.5 percent (3,895) as pre-med students and 18.5 percent (887) as pre-dental students.
Many of these more recent participants had not yet reached the point of applying to medical or dental school when this report was prepared (June 2011); the results from 2006 to date were:
- 848 participants applied to medical school, and 63.6 percent (539) of the applicants were accepted.
- 313 applied to dental school and 68.7 percent (215) of the applicants were accepted.
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