Program Description Abstracts

Program Description presenters will develop posters to share information about their program with the larger ASPBP community. The goal of the Program Descriptions session is to allow ASPBP members to exchange ideas and insight on pathway programming work. Content may include lessons learned related to the program such as innovations & best practices, target student populations, etc. As the community surrounding pathway programs and bridges continues to grow, learning what other programs are doing and finding a sense of community in the work of others is incredibly valuable. This submission category does not require a research component.

Program Descriptions will be presented Wednesday, October 4 from 3:00 - 4:00 PM EDT and Thursday, October 5, from 2:30 - 3:00 PM EDT. Descriptions are listed in alphabetical order.

Primary Presenter: Crystal Jushka - Medical College of Wisconsin

StEP-UP is a cohorted undergraduate program with a 4-year curriculum that provides a community of learning and support to students as they move through their pre-med coursework and prepare to apply for medical or graduate school. The goal is to not only provide students with the tangible academic support and soft skill development necessary for a career in health sciences, but also a sense of belonging in medicine and biomedical science. More information on the curriculum can be found here: 

In order to deliver such robust programming, the StEP-UP program coordinator partners with an MCW student organization that delivers health sciences content, including MCAT prep, research panels, and hands-on suture clinics, dissections, and clinical skill sessions. They also help with providing feedback on personal statements and mock interviews while serving as a board of directors for curriculum development.

Originally funded by the Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin (AHW) Endowment, StEP-UP is a pathway program designed to recruit local talent for the medical and graduate school pipeline to help diversify the local physician workforce and faculty at MCW. The program aims to recruit students that fall under MCW’s underrepresented in medicine (URiM) designation to help promote inclusivity and equity both in education and healthcare. The program is now fully institutionally funded and has had success in matriculating URiM students into medical school at MCW and elsewhere.

MCW's current definition of underrepresented in medicine (URiM) is based off the current physician workforce in Milwaukee and Wisconsin as it relates to the city and state's population. The definition currently includes students from African American/Black, Hmong, Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Native American backgrounds. Undergraduate students from accredited institutions in the state of Wisconsin are eligible to apply to StEP-UP. Students generally stay in the program until they matriculate into medical or graduate school so they are allowed to continue participating once graduated from college and taking gap time if they choose. Many of our participants also participate in MCW's summer research programs that allow them to gain a robust research experience and build a strong connection to the institution through participation in several years of StEP-UP and these summer programs.

Key Words: Pre-Med, Undergraduate Students, Best Practices

Primary Presenter: Sarah Micucci - Massachusetts General Hospital

The MGH Youth Neurology Education and Research Program, which was started in 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, employs high school and undergraduate students from marginalized communities across Greater Boston in paid, mentored neurology research at Massachusetts General Hospital. With 2022 being the program’s first fully in-person summer, we perceived a need to proactively reduce potential socioeconomic barriers to interns’ success related to in-person participation. Incoming interns voiced a need for professional clothing during interviews, inspiring us to partner with a non-profit organization in our community that offers free-of-cost professional clothing, which was used by 72% of interns. Philanthropic partners with experience supporting other internship programs increased our awareness of transportation and food-related costs connected to youth participating in person, and facilitated access to funds that all interns received in addition to their salaries to help defray the costs of public transportation and meals while at work.

We share this experience as an innovative model that could be replicated to address other pathway program participants’ socioeconomic needs including food, transportation, and clothing with the ultimate goal to decrease barriers for interns’ success across the United States. Interns participating in our program’s innovation voiced appreciation for these additional resources and we plan to continue to offer clothing, transportation, and food resources beyond salaries to all summer interns. We remain committed to listening to all stakeholders to further identify and proactively address potential barriers that may interfere with youth excelling in their research internships.

The MGH Youth Neurology Education and Research Program employs high school and undergraduate youth from underrepresented backgrounds, particularly those identifying as Black, Latino, Indigenous, female, or first-generation students. Minoritized communities across the United States face stark wealth injustice coupled with growing insecurity related to food, transportation, and other socioeconomic needs. In 2019, the median income for White Americans was nearly nine times higher than that for Black Americans and five times higher than that for Latino Americans. With 75% of program students to date identifying as Black or Latino, we recognize the need to continue to mitigate socioeconomic barriers that prevent students from pursuing summer internships. 

More information on the MGH Youth Neurology Education and Research Program, including the registration form for our INSPIRE Speaker Series which is open to all students anywhere in the world, can be found at:

Key Words: High School Students, Pre-Med, Undergraduate Students

Primary Presenter: Camille Chavez - University of Arizona College of Medicine

The Accelerated Pathway to Medical Education (APME) is the newest pathway at the College of Medicine- Tucson. Students apply in their senior year of high school. This is a 7 year accelerated program where students end with their MD and have the option to complete their bachelors but are not required. This program is aimed at fostering creativity as we grow and develop the next generation of physicians.

This program encourages students to pursue other majors and areas of interest while working on their preparation towards medical school. STEM students can pursue this pathway as a way to combine their interested in STEM and their goal towards becoming a physician.

Key Words: High School Students, Pre-Med, Innovation

Primary Presenter: Jonathan Wisco - Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine

Anatomy Academy was established in 2012 in Los Angeles, CA as an outreach and service-learning program public school partnership with University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) to teach anatomy, physiology and nutrition concepts to early middle school children (5th-6th grade) as an effort to combat the obesity epidemic through educational intervention, and inspire kids to pursue science as a career1,2. Since that time, the program has grown to more than 28 K-12 partners in over 49 classes, particularly in the States of California, Utah, and Massachusetts, and the freely-available curriculum and coaching to run the program has expanded to include specialized concepts of dance, exercise, cooking, and special needs. Anatomy Academy is a multi-institutional, multi-disciplinary, inclusive and accessible collaboration for pre-clinical students between the disciplines of medicine, dentistry, nursing, public health, public policy and education at multiple higher education institutions across the country.

Volunteers in Anatomy Academy - whom we call Mentors because of their importance in the health professions pathway entry process - learn how to communicate complex medical information to a level appropriate for K-12 children; prepare and deliver lessons on anatomy, physiology and nutrition that help kids understand the importance of establishing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle; teach groups of children in didactic and active learning environments; serve as role models for pursuing higher education; demonstrate the utmost professional demeanor; and become exposed to an experiential learning environment that results in immediate, quantifiable behavioral change in students. Thus, Mentors are exposed to at least one component of each of the six Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) Core Competencies – Patient Care, Medical Knowledge, Practice-based Learning and Improvement, Interpersonal and Communication Skills, Professionalism, Systems-based Practice long before they become medical residents or the equivalent in other health professions.

A preliminary study of over 10 years of Mentors indicates that their involvement has had a significant and positive impact on their personal and professional identity formation. Specifically, they reported that their experience had a moderate or major impact on their intentions to participate in community service, with some reasoning that it brought about feelings of connectedness and responsibility to the surrounding community. Additionally, Mentors reported that they plan to formally incorporate service and outreach to the community into their careers as health professionals as a result. Children who have participated in the program reported an improvement in health self-efficacy and science knowledge1. The experiential learning and duality of mentorship in which pre-clinical students teach and learn from K-12 children has immeasurable value in the learning process for everyone and develops a sense of community engagement through inclusivity.

Key Words: K-8, Outreach, Inclusive Teaching

Primary Presenter: Rachel Moquin - Washington University School of Medicine
Program Description Presenters: Bobbie Brown - Washington University in St. Louis

Within the past decade, several tragic events have transpired that magnified racial divisions and inequities pervasive in American society. Given that the medical field is not exempt from these issues, leaders in the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis (Wash U) Department of Anesthesiology department wanted to make a tangible impact within the medical community at and in St. Louis. In 2021, we launched the Anesthesiology Summer Research (ASSURE) Fellowship as an innovative way to increase access to careers in medicine or biomedical research for historically underrepresented undergraduate students in the local community and students who do not have access to rich research experiences at their home institutions. This summer, ASSURE will welcome its third cohort of scholars; students will engage in programming designed to equip them with tools to advance toward the next step in their biomedical careers.

We are excited to engage with this community of practice to make the STEMM field more representative of the diverse populations we serve. The ASSURE program, while housed within the Department of Anesthesiology, seeks to expose our participants to the wide array of career fields and opportunities in STEMM. Our fellows engage with a diverse group of clinicians, researchers, medical students, educators, and many other members across the School of Medicine, in addition to internationally renowned external experts in their respective scientific fields who are also from backgrounds historically underrepresented in STEMM. The goal of ASSURE is to provide support, mentorship, networking, and training opportunities to strengthen participants’ skill sets while helping advance them toward careers in medicine or biomedical research. We are excited to share our program and lessons learned so our community can continue to learn from each other as we advance toward fulfilling this vision of ASPBP.

Over three cohorts (2021, 2022, and now 2023) we will have served 20 undergraduate students, all from backgrounds historically underrepresented in science and medicine. Each year we have seen our applicant pool grow, both in terms of number of candidates and also from an increasingly broader pool of undergraduate institutions. In addition to MD and PhD program interest, we are now seeing students indicate interest in OT, PT, and nursing careers. We have updated our eligibility criteria for next year to include community college students as well, and we will be partnering with our institution’s postbacc program to help bridge the pathway toward a four year degree and eventually graduate school.

Key Words: Outreach, Undergraduate Students, Research

Primary Presenter: Jonathan Wisco - Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine
Program Description Presenters: Valeda Britton - Community Relations, Boston University Aram V. Chobanian & Edward Avedisian School of Medicine

Outreach and service-learning are an important component of engaged and significant learning experiences that help students transition from a memorization and regurgitation learning paradigm to a self-directed and self-regulated learning philosophy. Similar to community service, service-learning addresses specific community-identified issues, but by definition, differs from community service in that participants formally reflect upon the impact of their community engagement in the context of their curricular learning objectives, personal identity formation, and professional identity formation. Opportunities for outreach and service-learning in educational settings depend entirely on the establishment of valued and valuable partnerships between universities and public schools.

Key Workds: K-8, High School Students, Outreach

Primary Presenter: Peter Vollbrecht - Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine
Program Description Presenters: Kirsten Porter-Stransky - University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville

Effective communication of science is critical for informing and sculpting the attitudes of the general public, and scientists are becoming more aware of the need to communicate with the general public about the importance of science. Our own work has demonstrated that going out to classrooms reaches a more diverse audience as well as an audience that is less enthusiastic about science in general. Brain Explorers actively promotes accessible and assess-able outreach program development while maintaining an engaging curriculum.

Brain Explorers is a program that aims to improve access and engagement with science in middle school students, with a heavy focus on reaching those less interested in science and from groups that have been historically excluded from scientific fields including, but not limited to, healthcare professions. In addition to directly targeting students from underrepresented minorities and lower SES backgrounds the Brain Explorers Program actively encourages a scholarly approach to outreach and pathway program development. We believe that these two components of the Brain Explorers Program will be of significant interest to the ASPBP membership.

Brain Explorers pairs medical students with faculty and local teachers to create lessons for 7th and 8th grade students. Most news outlets target a reading/comprehension level of 8th grade, making an ability to communicate at this level particularly valuable for future physicians who will be on the front line of science communication. Middle school students are surveyed prior to the initial Brain Explorers visit and again following the final classroom visit, to determine attitudes toward science and neuroscience knowledge. Additionally, collection of demographic and science attitudes data provides insight into who is being reached by varying event types and location. Assessment of our outreach program is critical for continued success. The Brain Explorers Program is an example of mutually beneficial community partnership with local school districts that creates engaging, accessible neuroscience lessons while providing an opportunity for undergraduate medical students to reflect on and improve their science communication skills.

Key Words: K-8, Outreach, Best Practices

Primary Presenter: Michelle L. Demory - Nova Southeastern University, Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Allopathic Medicine
Program Description Presenters: Arlene Giczkowski - Nova Southeastern University, Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Allopathic Medicine

The Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Allopathic Medicine – Master of Biomedical Sciences (MBS) program is designed to enhance students’ academic preparation for application to graduate health professions programs. Our MBS curriculum focuses on foundational medical science courses with an emphasis on clinical correlation enhanced with the use of innovative teaching modalities. The intensive curriculum, taught by medical and dental school faculty, prepares students for the rigors of medical, dental, and other challenging health professions programs. Additionally, we provide personalized, goal-driven academic and career advising, both in-person and online, to help our students achieve their professional goals.

Our program was recently redesigned from a DO/Dental bridge program to an enhancer post-bacc program. With this, we met challenges and new opportunities. One change is a shift in program delivery. The previous bridge program was offered as a lockstep, full-time master's program. To reach an expanded pool of applicants, we redesigned our curriculum to offer more flexibility. We found that many of our students work to offset the cost of tuition. Therefore, students can now attend full-time or part-time, and in-person, online or in combination. Additionally, we also offer two admission cycles per year. However, the increase in student flexibility has challenged our new medical school’s resources. Most of our courses are delivered every semester and, because of our part-time student population, it is difficult to horizontally integrate content. Despite these challenges, our alumni have had much success in gaining admission to their programs of choice.

Our program targets students that are interested in attending MD, DO, Dental, Physician Assistant, Anesthesiology Assistant, Optometry, and Pharmacy school. Accordingly, we collaborate closely with these Nova Southeastern University health professions programs in course content, advising and admission. In addition, these programs offer guaranteed interviews to MBS students that meet certain criteria. While not strictly limited to underrepresented, underserved, marginalized or first-generation students, our program enrollment, advising, and mentoring structure is aimed at assisting these students in academic, social, and emotional success as well as achievement in admission into health professions programs of choice.

Key Words: Post-Bacc, Pre-Med, Pre-Matriculation

Primary Presenter: Barbra Roller - Florida International University

Medical education has been slow to diversify as racial/ethnic minorities, students of low socioeconomic status, and first-generation college students are still underrepresented in medicine. Previous research on pathway programs has shown that those programs offering longitudinal mentorship and resources have a positive impact on the number of students interested in healthcare careers.

At FIU Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine (HWCOM), we created the Doctors of Tomorrow (DOT) Program in 2012 to further diversify our applicant pool. The DOT program is an intensive, six-day free residential summer pathway program, for undergraduate students who are Florida residents. Many entities collaborate to create DOT: faculty, staff, facilities, IT, medical students, and healthcare providers. External funds are obtained to support student housing, food, and supplies. Activities are designed to provide the tools students need to be competitive applicants and include: academic enrichment, communication skills, learning skills, clinical medicine, counseling/mentoring, and professional/career development.

This program fits perfectly with the mission and vision of ASPBP. Students are given information and strategies to learn about health professions and how to become competitive applicants. The program provides opportunities for diverse students to eventually serve diverse populations. To that end, in order to participate in the program, students must be a racial/ethnic minority as defined by the AAMC, or of low socioeconomic status, or first-generation in college. Most of the students fit into more than one category. The participants also must have completed a minimum of 60 credits, including two courses in biology and two in chemistry. Then, there is a competitive application process. By providing housing for the students, we are able to expand the geographic diversity of the population, as not all participants are from the Miami area. Living together in housing promotes community and fosters networking, collaboration and teamwork, important to the ASPBP mission.

As described above, the target population is that of undergraduate students who are typically underrepresented in the health professions. Tracking DOT alumni as they graduate with a bachelor’s degree and enter a health-related degree program has proved challenging, and this is one of the largest challenges for this program. We measure the program outcome by the percentage of students who are accepted to medical school or other healthcare programs. Since the program’s inception, approximately 70% of participants who applied to medical school were accepted, many of them at HWCOM. Other DOT students have chosen to enter different healthcare fields. The success rate of the program suggests that students have been provided with the information and skills to make an informed decision about their healthcare careers. 

The modular nature, timing and schedule of the program means that DOT can be easily duplicated at other medical schools.

Key Words: Pre-Med, Undergraduate Students, Best Practices

Primary Presenter: Crystal Jushka - Medical College of Wisconsin
Program Description Presenters: Mike Levas - Medical College of Wisconsin

Our team gathered the leaders of the MCW pathway programs to create synergy with the goal of creating a more centralized and collaborative system for the programs to operate. An inventory taken in 2019 revealed that there were approximately 20 different pathway programs at MCW operating in silos. By bringing together program leaders, we were able to identify several areas in which they felt creating a collaborative system would benefit the work including a common website that would provide potential participants with access to all programs in one location and a centralized data system that could be used to 1) track learners through their participation in various programs and 2) report outcomes to stakeholders. 

The proposed program will address our experiences and lessons learned from the ongoing collaborative, share some of our process measures and current product, and speak on how fostering this collaborative has led to other cross-program improvements/collaborations.

This project consists of numerous pathway programs that contribute to the STEMM pathway in the Greater Milwaukee Area. Many of the programs have a strong focus on diversity and inclusion and providing support to learners seeking medical and graduate school admission. Our goal is to share the challenges we have faced and best practices we have found in trying to develop a more collaborative approach to create systems that better serve our program participants.

While the main participants in this project have been the program leaders, the pathway programs serve a wide span of ages from middle school through current medical and graduate students. All programs have different target populations, though many focus on URiM populations or are conscious of diversity in their participant selection. Additionally, we included current MCW students in our working group who have participated in some of the pathway programs so that they could provide more insight from a participant perspective.

Key Words: Best Practices, Innovation, Other

Primary Presenter: Ben Rhee - The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University
Program Description Presenters: Luckson Omoaregba - The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University
Joseph Diaz - The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University

"Mentorship, Early Exposure, and Training in Surgery” (MEETS) is a pathway program under The Warren Alpert Medical School’s Office of Belonging, Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion that was formed to provide early exposure and resources for students from backgrounds underrepresented in medicine to surgical specialties. MEETS mentors engage directly with students who are interested in learning more about surgery-focused careers in the medical field by hosting a series of interactive lessons that introduce the surgical specialties, physician panels for medical education advice and career perspective, pathway guidance discussions, as well as basic surgical technique workshops for hands-on exposure. At the conclusion of the program, interested students are encouraged to get in touch with mentors for further pathway guidance or shadowing opportunities.

MEETS was formed in response to the need for increased diversity in surgical specialties. Currently, about 34% of the United States comprises persons who identify with an ethnicity/race that is underrepresented in medical careers. However, from 2010 to 2018, only 13.8% of matriculants to surgical programs in the US identified as URM. As America’s patient population continues to diversify, it is imperative that this gap is addressed at multiple levels, especially early on in a student’s life. In conjunction with ASPBP’s vision of equitable opportunity and diverse success through pathway initiatives, we believe that MEETS’ workshops and resource integration can help students of underrepresented backgrounds wield some of the tools and recognize their potential to successfully pursue a path of becoming a surgeon one day.

Our target population is high school students of socioeconomically diverse and underrepresented backgrounds in the Rhode Island area who are interested in pursuing a career in the medical field, particularly surgical specialties. From our pilot workshop launch and student post-experience survey responses in the spring of 2023, we gleaned several valuable insights that can translate into meaningful program improvements during the next iteration. For instance, frequent and high-quality integration of hands-on components (i.e., suturing, knot-tying, simulators, surgical tools) are essential for sustaining student interest and elevating the impact of the material taught. Diversity of mentors, from those who lead specialty introductions to panelists, is another crucial aspect. By seeing first-hand the rich variety of backgrounds, career paths, and demographic makeup of their physician mentors, students can be more empowered to establish increased concordance and confidence in their own potential as future surgeons.

Key Words: High School Students, Outreach, Inclusive Teaching

Primary Presenter: Luckson Omoaregba - Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University
Program Description Presenters: Joesph Diaz - Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University

Month of Medical School (MOM) Program provides underrepresented in Medicine (UiM) pre-med students in the state of Rhode Island with a "snapshot" of the medical school experience. This program gives students the opportunity to experience medical school-level coursework, participate in clinical rotation opportunities and promote their academic development while enhancing their competitiveness as medical school applicants. The core of this four-week experience includes:

- lectures that replicate course materials covered in the first year of medical school.
- panels/workshops about applying to medical school and careers in medicine.
- mentoring and advising from medical school faculty and current medical students
- introduction to clinical medicine including exposure to clinical case conferences 6 Month clinical rotation experience

Health outcomes for historically underrepresented communities in the US have been linked to the racial/ethnic diversity of healthcare providers. Studies have shown that communities with greater representation of Black primary care physicians are associated with improved survival-related outcomes for Black individuals. Unfortunately the pathway for historically marginalized individuals to become future physicians continues to highlight the consequences of systemic racism, prejudice, and bias in the US. While medical school enrollment has increased by 33 % in 2021, admission of underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities individuals remains flat. One way to address this challenge is to provide access to Pathway programs that offer an access point for historically marginalized students to gain experiences that can positively impact their medical education journey. ASPBP’s charge to provide support to the development and implementation of pathway/bridge program for students to succeed in STEMM careers fits this session's objectives.

Month of Medical School targets undergraduate students who attend the University of Rhode Island, Providence College, and Rhode Island College. Students from the following backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply:

those from groups who are historically underrepresented in medicine
first family member to attend college
coming from low socioeconomic means
residents of Rhode Island

Key Words: Pre-Med, Undergraduate Students, Innovation

Primary Presenter: Edgar Meyer - University of Mississippi Medical Center

The Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences Program is housed within the School of Graduate Studies in the Health Sciences (SGSHS) at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC), the only academic health sciences center in the state of Mississippi. The program has been running for several years, and it comprises a robust and rigorous schedule of six biomedical science courses and one professional development course for a total of thirty-two credit hours. The professional development course entails seminar-based sessions during which speakers from the admissions offices of professional health degree programs elucidate their programs’ application processes and discuss the primary characteristics of their career fields. In addition, program directors representing each of the different Ph.D. programs within the UMMC SGSHS also speak to the students about program admission requirements, research options, and other career opportunities in their respective disciplines.

Moreover, this program truly emphasizes a holistic approach that appeals to supporting inclusivity and equity across the educational continuum in adherence to the ASPBP mission and treating every student as a person first and a student second. Despite the program’s size, approximately 120 students annually, the Program Director and Assistant Program Director offer one-on-one advising sessions to every student in the program at least once at the beginning of the fall term. Students are also encouraged and reminded to schedule additional advising sessions at any other time throughout the academic year as long as they are not during their classes. Students who struggle academically are promptly directed to academic counseling resources, and students who express mental health concerns are directed to student wellness and counseling services. In addition, students who change their minds about their future career aspirations are guided toward discovering additional options that are most ideal for them.

This program mainly caters to students seeking entrance into medical, dental, and physician assistant programs, but in recent years, it has become a pipeline for students seeking admission into basic science Ph.D. programs. However, it is aimed to welcome and develop students seeking admission into any health science academic, educational, government, or industrial field. Most students complete their master’s degree in one year, but program flexibility allows students to space out their plan of study for a maximum of six years prior to intended graduation. Enrolled students also have the option to take elective courses in research and teaching in higher education. Unlike the competitor post-baccalaureate programs which hail from private institutions within the state, this program is more affordable while offering the same quality of course content and rigor and a greater variety of course requirements and elective selections.

Key Words: Post-Bacc, Best Practices, Innovation

Primary Presenter: Zoha Irfan - Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine
Program Description Presenters: Nayade Caldes - Florida International University
Brianna Ulloa - Florida International University
Katherine Semidey - Florida International University College of Medicine

The Panther Cub Pediatric Volunteer Program (PCPVP) is a volunteer pathway program established within the UHI Community Care Clinic, a free student-run clinic for uninsured populations 200% below the federal poverty line. At its inception, PCPVP was established to assist non-Spanish-speaking medical students rotating through the clinic with translation services. Over time, the vast benefits of this role to the volunteers became apparent, and the program became more formally established. 

The program was further improved to allow pre-health students to access clinical learning, mentorship, leadership, clinical experience, and volunteering opportunities– all of which are essential components for medical school applicants. 

In addition, students of our program are encouraged to take leadership beyond the clinical setting and create philanthropic projects aimed to give back to the same community we serve at our clinic. 

With PCPVP, we strive to shape our students into competitive, highly motivated leaders, applicants, and future healthcare professionals.

As our patient communities diversify, it is critical to maintain that same diverse background for healthcare providers. The Association of American Medical Colleges highlights “underrepresented in medicine (URiM)”, defined as “those racial and ethnic populations that are underrepresented in the medical profession relative to their numbers in the general population”. Students URiM experience many barriers to establishing themselves within STEMM fields. Pathway programs are designed to provide URiM students quality experiences to develop strong applications for graduate school programs. 

PCPVP provides volunteers with essential components for graduate applications: leadership, clinical experience, advocacy, and mentorship. They are an integral part of the care team and are empowered with the opportunity to receive quality mentorship from physicians, advanced healthcare providers, and medical students. 

Bridge programs, such as the Panther Cub Pediatrics Program, exist on the principle of equity, enabling our community to improve access to resources critical for success in healthcare fields.

The Panther Cub Pediatrics Program aims to recruit pre-health volunteers that are eager to be advocates for our underserved populations here in South Florida.

Applicants are initially filtered based on an interview with the volunteer coordinator and the clinic’s attending physician. The interviewer is vigilant to applicants who demonstrate a passion to work with children, are fluent in Spanish, and are interested in advanced healthcare professions. The strongest candidates are those who can understand and empathize with our patient population. Although not intentional, interested volunteers are often first- or second-generation immigrants themselves, as these individuals have the strongest ties to the culture and language.

Key Words: Pre-Med, Outreach, Undergraduate Students

Primary Presenter: Ishan Handa - Charles E Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University
Program Description Presenters: Zeynep Elshaer - Charles E Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University
Miguel Castro - Charles E Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University
Sarinya Meknarit - Charles E Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University

Our program combats healthcare inequities through Bridge-to-Medicine/Mentoring (BTM-M) and Clinical Skills/Simulation (CSS). BTM consists of weekly lectures from the COM’s faculty regarding personal and professional development. Small groups, led by medical students, then discuss and implement skills from the lecture. Pathways-Mentoring is designed for 12th-graders to continue building on the skills formed in BTM. Mentors provide structured support for college applications and establish a longitudinal mentor/mentee relationship as students pursue their healthcare careers.

CSS has three portions. The first activity focuses on biomedical science and public health issues, followed by a related interactive activity. The second portion is conducted in simulation rooms, with high-fidelity, full-body mannequins, where students are able to experience being a medical professional by performing a history and physical exam. The anatomy lab portion allows students to learn case-based anatomy using the cadaver lab, followed by a debrief session with medical students.

The goal of the Florida Atlantic COM and Palm Beach County Pathways initiative is to empower minority high school students to consider a career in the healthcare field and diversify undergraduate medical education. Underrepresented minority students must overcome a lack of resources, knowledge of medical careers/education, financial means, and, most notably, social support. Combating such barriers is essential to recruiting underrepresented minorities in healthcare. A significantly supported and proposed means of initiating and augmenting the presence of minorities in healthcare spaces includes mentorship from racially, ethnically, and culturally diverse students and professionals in the healthcare field.

Healthcare inequalities remain one of the most critical challenges facing the healthcare system in the United States. Although the racial-ethnic and socioeconomic diversity of the United States continues to increase, healthcare provider representation remains unreflective of the shifting majority-minority balance. Our program caters to African-American, Native American, and Latino high school students interested in healthcare careers.

Key Words: High School Students, Outreach, Inclusive Teaching

Primary Presenter: Joseph Weertz - Wayne State University School of Medicine

The Wayne State University School of Medicine (WSUSOM) premedical Post Bacc, established by Charles F. Whitten, MD, in 1969, is the first and oldest such program in the United States. This PBP is a 1-year, academic record enhancer program for economically and educationally disadvantaged students who were initially denied medical school admission. The program provides a medical school curriculum that enables the assessment of a pool of qualified socioeconomically disadvantaged students’ potential for medical school. Put your knowledge to work treating patients in Detroit — one of the most dynamic urban environments in the world.

The PBP was successful in graduating a large proportion of physicians from socioeconomically disadvantaged and diverse backgrounds, who practice as Primary Care Physicians and who practice in Health Professional Shortage Areas and Medically Underserved Area/Population (MUA/P), thereby accomplishing the Post Bacc’s goals of helping to address the broad health care needs of all people in the United States.

• 233/401 (58.1%) female and 277/401 (69.1%) African American PBP MD graduates
• 204/283 (72.1%) of PBP MD graduates with current practice information were residents of health professional shortage areas or medically underserved areas/populations at the time
of admission to the program

Premedical Post Baccalaureate Program Curriculum: is delivered over two semesters, of 5 months each, from August to May, and students do not incur any expenses, for participation in the program. Another vital aspect of the Post Bacc is, that all students admitted to the Wayne State University School of Medicine (WSUSOM) through the PBP, are not only followed and supported by academic and personal counselors, during the course of the Post Bacc, but also the duration of their education, at the School of Medicine. 

Students take a variety of courses, including:
Gross Anatomy

Target Population: Post-bac

Key Words: Post-Bacc

Primary Presenter: Nishika Edwards - University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville
Program Description Presenters: Steffani Driggins - Claflin University

The National Institute of Health (NIH) R25 program, promoting diversity in research training and mentoring for underrepresented minority students (URM,) is a five-year program funded by the National Institute of Health to meet the needs of biomedical, behavioral, and clinical research students by actively recruiting undergraduate students in STEM fields. Researchers in URM populations are encouraged and prepared for graduate school and careers in STEM and research by implementing a combination of academic enrichment seminars, educational interventions, mentoring, and collaborative research as part of the NIH R25 program. It is important to provide these skills, resources, and experiences to prepare, motivate, enhance readiness, and make them more competitive for advancement in their careers. In addition, this program gives students the opportunity to work with experts and professionals who will provide them with support and guidance as they prepare to be the next generation of STEM innovators.

The NIH R25 REP program shares the same vision and objective of the Association of STEMM Pathway and Bridge Programs, which is to provide a pipeline for justice, equality, diversity, and inclusion for disadvantaged and underrepresented individuals, ultimately making the STEM field more diverse and competitive. It is necessary to fill the gaps in STEM that cause national concern and scrutiny for underrepresented minorities, while also creating opportunities that benefit them. By facilitating peer mentoring, mentorship, and near peer mentoring through the REP program, students can establish academic and professional goals, improve self-efficacy through academic interventions, and develop and identify leadership identities for greater representation of minorities in STEM fields. It is through these experiences that participants gain a deeper understanding and knowledge of science applications and research while gaining effective tools for obtaining successful outcomes.

Undergraduate students enrolled at South Carolina colleges and universities are the target audience. To be eligible, students must be pursuing a career in STEM, be a U.S. citizen or an international student with permanent residency and a valid green card, have at least a 3.0 GPA, and be sophomores, juniors, or seniors. R25 program participants are recruited through recommendations from research mentors, solicitation on the NIH R25 website, social media sites, and flyers. To be considered for participation, each applicant must submit an application, a statement of interest, an unofficial transcript, a resume, and letters of recommendation.

Key Words: Outreach, Undergraduate Students, Research

Primary Presenter: Theresa A. Davies - Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine, Graduate Medical Sciences
Program Description Presenters: Aaron Young - Graduate Medical Sciences, Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine

It is known, there is a need to diversify the healthcare workforce, including the dental profession. The MS in Oral Health Sciences at Boston University (BU), in collaboration with the Goldman School of Dental Medicine (GSDM), is one such credential enhancing pipeline program developed to address the low number of students from historically underrepresented and racial/ethnic (HURE) groups entering dental school. The 32 credit Oral Health Sciences (OHS) Master’s program can be completed in one-year and students take courses through Boston University’s GSDM and Graduate Medical Sciences (GMS) at Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine. Starting with just eight students in 2005 and now over 40, graduates have a 90% success rate matriculating to US dental schools (JDE, Davies et al., 2019).  The program fosters an environment of high standards for professionalism, integrity and collegiality where students build upon their abilities to enable future success in dental school.

Through immersion in a rigorous, one-year graduate, biomedical sciences curriculum including several first-year dental school courss, OHS Master’s students develop critical thinking and academic skills. They enroll in courses such as Physiology, Biochemistry, Pathology and Microbiology and have the opportunity to prove their ability to handle the rigor of the curriculum to dental school admissions. Students also are able to enroll in graduate school courses across a variety of disciplines including public health, ethics, evidence-based dentistry, anatomy and histology. OHS has been extremely successful. The majority of students complete the degree in one calendar year starting in late July and completing OHS the following July; this allows students to matriculate to dental school without requiring an additional gap year. Students gain confidence and self-esteem allowing them to build upon their abilities to enable future success. The program also fosters an environment of high standards for professionalism, integrity and collegiality.

OHS was designed to meet the dental needs of a diverse population by increasing the number of qualified students to dental school from HURE groups, and those who are disadvantaged and/or first in their family to attend college. Since pipeline programs often focus primarily on academic skills, the OHS program has used a multipronged approach due to increased societal pressures and stressors, as it is clear that students from diverse backgrounds need more support due to structural barriers (Nguyen, JAMA Intern Med, 2022). We developed a multi-dimensional enrichment program to build a supportive foundation including a near-peer student-led mentoring group and an enrichment program to promote academic skills, professional development, networking and introduction to role models (Davies et al., 2023 ADEA). These sessions are blended with fun social activities to build a sense of belonging without competition. Enrichment programing supporting students holistically has proven extremely beneficial, especially for OHS students.

Key Words: Post-Bacc, Best Practices, Other

Primary Presenter: Nandita Kapur - Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine
Program Description Presenters: Suhani  Gupta - Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine
Sara Tran - Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine
Rose Wedemeyer - Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine

Reach Out to Youth (ROTY) is a mentorship program provided to families at no cost. ROTY aims to expose youth to the medical profession while providing parents/guardians with tools to best support their child's career pursuits. The goals of ROTY can be summarized into four domains: teach, inspire, support, and initiate. Medical students develop and facilitate interactive workshops about different aspects of the human body. The reproductive health program, a key component of our curriculum, helps initiate early conversations about reproductive health and create an environment where youth can talk to trusted adults and receive honest and reliable information. Youth who participate in ROTY come out of the program not only with a curiosity about the sciences, but also meaningful connections with fellow medical students.

In the medical field, there is a significant disparity in resources, education, and opportunities for those underrepresented in medicine. Mentorship and pathway programs offer a way to ameliorate such disparities by supporting youth personal and professional development. While many mentorship and outreach programs exist for high school and middle school students, we recognized a lack of opportunities available for elementary school students. The goal of ROTY is to bridge the gap in medical education resource inequality by serving as a pathway program in the Pontiac School District of Michigan to stimulate younger students’ interest in science and medicine.

ROTY serves as a pathway program for Pontiac School District to recruit students between the ages of 7-11. At this time, youth are encouraged to start envisioning what their future could potentially hold for them. Introducing healthcare opportunities at this age gives youth the ability to explore a pathway they may have not had the chance to otherwise. Furthermore, parents and/or guardians of the participating students are invited to join a program that is run simultaneously with the student program. The parent program includes several community partners and aims to connect families to resources to best support their students, while also giving them an insight into what the students are learning throughout the day. Together, these components encompass a way for families to expand potential career opportunities through a comprehensive approach.

Key Words: K-8, Outreach, Inclusive Teaching

Primary Presenter: Lauren Roth - Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Program Description Presenters: Holly Nuthmann - Albert Einstein College of Medicine

At the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, one of our missions is to provide students with opportunities to foster meaningful connections and collaboration with the Bronx community. In alignment with this mission, the 2022-23 academic year was the inaugural year for Einstein’s longitudinal Service-Learning Course. 

In this course, students learn about the needs and strengths of the Bronx and local communities by pairing active community service with critical reflection and a dedicated curriculum imparting the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed for successful community engagement. Through collaboration with 40 community-based organizations, the Service-Learning Course offers an avenue for students to learn from the expertise of community leaders and underscores the necessity of understanding how social determinants impact health. Students have opportunities to work with children in schools from K-12 and other youth-serving organizations to provide mentorship, offer career advice, educate on a variety of health topics, and collaborate on service projects.

In line with ASPBP’s view that cooperation and teamwork are “crucial to solving complex problems” our Service-Learning Program seeks to highlight the ways in which community-based organizations and the healthcare system can partner to ensure better outcomes for the community members they serve. The Service-Learning Program emphasizes the importance of cross sector collaboration for promoting equitable access to services and care for underserved and marginalized community members. 

Through community-based service and critical reflection, students in the Service-Learning course are exposed to a diversity of thought as they work alongside and are instructed in small group settings by community leaders whose training and expertise differ from their own. By continuous collaboration with community partners, Einstein seeks to better educate and expose medical students to the various needs of underserved populations. Our partnerships with schools and youth-serving organizations can serve as pathways to higher education and particularly health professional education.

The Service-Learning Program seeks to simultaneously target medical students, community-based organizations, and community members from youth to adulthood through the implementation of mutually beneficial partnerships. These partnerships allow medical students to learn from community members while also providing their time, expertise, and services to community organizations and projects that address community needs. Many of our community partners include schools K-12 and youth-serving organizations. Through the implementation of the new Service-Learning Course, Einstein has formed partnerships with 40 community-based organizations, matching 170 medical students with service organizations and projects, and incorporating a total of 6,800 community service hours into the mandatory medical school curriculum.

Key Words: Outreach, Best Practices, Innovation

Primary Presenter: Chinmayi Balusu - Columbia University

Neuroscience’s potential stems from the youth of today – the future scientists, ethicists, technologists, artists, and clinicians who are driven to explore interdisciplinary thought and creatively confront difficult questions about the brain.

However, the field significantly lags behind other scientific domains in the quantity and quality of resources available to youth. Outside of North America and Europe, it is rare for relevant courses such as “Introduction to Neuroscience” to be offered at public schools. Not only do most neuroscience resources contain intimidating jargon, but they are hidden behind paywalls or academic institutions. Beyond this, resources do not take into account the learning needs of pre-college students, students with disabilities, and those from non-English backgrounds. The noticeable lack of early learning materials also emphasizes the need for comprehensive, accessible resources outside of the classroom.

In response, we have developed Simply Neuroscience, a student-led non-profit organization investing in young students’ passion for the brain. Through diverse initiatives such as The Synapse Podcast, Humans of Neuroscience series, and Action Potential Advising Program, we help students navigate their individual “brain” journey rather than implementing a one-size-fits-all approach. We recognize that aspiring neuroscientists have different means for engaging with the field and accommodate this need by developing virtual “fireside chat” events with speakers, informal learning interviews, jargon-free visual materials, etc. Furthermore, our social media post and guide series highlight intersections of neuroscience from computational systems to architectural psychology and beyond, building a welcoming atmosphere that transcends traditional learning boundaries. Now, we are working to bridge the gap between global and grassroots communities through our on-the-ground ambassador program, bolstering newly hybrid learning environments across the world.

Since our start in 2019, our efforts have reached 35,000 students from across 50 U.S. states/territories and 119 countries, with our social media presence gathering over 1,000,000 impressions. The age range of participating students is primarily between 13 to 30 years, and includes middle school, high school, undergraduate, and graduate students as well as early-career working professionals.

Key Words: High School Students, Outreach, Undergraduate Students

Primary Presenter: Stephen Mike - Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine
Program Description Presenters: Sabyasachi Moulik - Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine

Since the introduction of Benjamin Bloom’s framework for educational goals in 1956, Bloom’s Taxonomy has impacted classrooms across the nation. The stepwise development of cognitive processes can be divided into six main categories, each building upon the last to foster the ability to analyze, evaluate and create new or original works. Florida International University (FIU) Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine’s (HWCOM) Graduate Certificate in Molecular & Biomedical Sciences Program (GCP) has adapted Bloom’s Taxonomy in the Medical Physiology course and developed student lead learning environments to promote higher order cognitive processes. Each week across the 16-week semester, students of the program sign up to review Medical Physiology concepts by presenting session learning objectives (SLOs) to their peers during office hours. Each SLO presentation is approximately ten minutes in duration. Students are incentivized to present SLOs throughout the semester with the opportunity to earn extra credit points.

Providing an inclusive and equable environment for students of all backgrounds and educational levels is pivotal in the success of students in the pathway programs. With the increased prevalence of online learning and remote-based education since the COVID-19 Pandemic in 2020, the promotion of student lead learning is important for higher order application of Bloom’s Taxonomy. Student lead learning mimics the effects of small group learning and allows for supervision by professors to ensure that the important concepts related to the discipline are being reinforced and thereby creating better educational outcomes. Student lead learning during office hours can help students of all disciplines in pathway programs to identify gaps in learning and seek faculty assistance to reinforce the core concepts in an informal environment.

The FIU HWCOM GCP population consists of graduate level students. In this program, basic science concepts are reinforced through examples of human disease and experimental data for better understanding of clinical sciences. The curriculum includes eight graduate-level courses consisting of two professional skills courses and six courses in biomedical sciences. Similar student lead learning opportunities have also been incorporated within other courses in the program. Students have found these active learning sessions very helpful in cultivating higher order thinking skills, learning dispositions, and collaboration skills needed for development into successful professionals.

Key Words: Post-Bacc, Pre-Med, Pre-Matriculation

Primary Presenter: Fernando Vasquez - Texas A&M University School of Medicine
Program Description Presenters: Latoya Morris - Texas A&M University School of Medicine

Provide an overview of the structure of the Texas A&M University School of Medicine early assurance programs that are designed to seek and recruit highly qualified undergraduate students into one of our 8 pathway programs who are interested in obtaining a medical degree with School of Medicine, and ultimately pursuing a career as a physician or physician scientist.

These programs are early assurance pathway programs that targets a variety of populations for early admission in the Texas A&M School of Medicine.

Key Words: High School Students, Pre-Med, Best Practices

Primary Presenter: Jessica Ibarra - University of Texas Health San Antonio

UT Health San Antonio is a leading academic health center with a mission to make lives better through excellence in advanced academics, life-saving research, and comprehensive clinical care and community engagement. Building on UT Health San Antonio’s mission to educate a diverse student body to become excellent health care providers and provide compassionate and culturally proficient heath care, positions the Bachelor of Science in Medical Sciences (BSMS) program offer a quality curriculum where students will gain a strong science foundation, clinical knowledge, healthcare skills, and research experience to prepare talented individuals from diverse backgrounds for academic, professional, and personal success with the skills to care for a diverse society. The BSMS curriculum is tailored to needs of students seeking to enter a healthcare careers and support services including coaching, individualized advising, counseling, peer tutoring, study skills assistance, career services to prepare, and small and supportive community.

The BSMS Program at UT Health San Antonio is a new pathway program designed to meet the needs of community college students to earn a bachelor’s degree while not only completing perquisite courses for health profession schools but also producing a competitive, self-regulated, life-long learner well-equip to enter the next stage of their education and career. The program features strategic, programmatic, and key initiatives uniquely position to develop competitive candidates for admission to health profession programs by offering summer EMT certification, practicum course, and a capstone project to explore areas of student interests, gain research and clinical experiences, and new interest. Students receive learn in a supportive healthcare setting with unique educational experiences rather than in a competitive pressure cooker. The BSMS program offers small class sizes to promote individualized attention and provide an environment where students feel comfortable taking an active role in their learning.

The BSMS program targets pre-health profession undergraduate seeking to earn a degree; students seeking additional preparation for application to a professional degree program in healthcare (medical, dental, physical therapy, physician assistant, optometry, and pharmacy); career changers who did not complete pre-health undergraduate coursework; and students looking for the seamless transition into their next step in health profession field and beyond. The program consists of 60 semester hours of medical science courses, a clinical practicum, capstone project, and a clinical certification requirement. Students compete the required core curriculum and program pre-requisites at a community college prior to admission to the program.

Key Words: Undergraduate Students, Other

Primary Presenter: Laura Bauler - Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine
Program Description Presenters: Peter Vollbrecht - Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine

*DISCLAIMER* This abstract was submitted prior to the Supreme Court decision regarding Students for Fair Admissions Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College. An updated version of this program is linked here

The Biomedical Sciences Masters’ degree program is a one-year degree granting program designed to support the long-term success of students who need additional biomedical science training prior to entering medical school. Five to ten students are accepted into the program each year and are provisionally accepted into the MD program upon program graduation. One goal of the program is to diversify the incoming medical student class by providing a pathway to medical school for individuals who are historically underrepresented in medicine. The curriculum is composed of 11 courses, half of which are completed alongside the medical students while the other half are unique to the Master’s program. This enables students an opportunity to experience the rigors of the medical curriculum, while also receiving the benefits of a small program with increased faculty:student ratios.

Compared to other pre-medical school matriculation programs, including other post-baccalaureate or Master’s programs, this program has several innovative aspects. These include direct admission to medical school upon successful completion, the longitudinal thesis component, and program funding. The longitudinal thesis component is a year-long course in which students compose a literature-based thesis on a topic of their choosing guided by faculty mentors. This component aims to improve students’ biomedical science knowledge, capacity for critical analysis, and written and oral communication skills, all attributes essential for practicing clinicians. Since its inception, the Biomedical Masters’ program has been a tuition free program and students are also provided a cost-of-living scholarship. This funding structure aims to eliminate the financial burden incurred by students who need to strengthen their medical school application prior to admission. Removing this burden allows a more diverse group of students to explore a path to medicine.

Our program looks for students who have the experiences, characteristics and drive to pursue medicine but who may need further academic preparation to succeed in medical school. This program has a particular focus on providing opportunities for students from underrepresented minority groups, low socioeconomic backgrounds, and those from the southwest Michigan area. Specifically, our program aims to prepare students for success within our own medical school by providing foundational knowledge, academic support and skills, faculty mentorship, and an opportunity to become integrated within the medical school community. The program was initiated in 2017 and has enrolled 30 students. Of those, the 6 students who have completed both the MS and MD degree have matched into residency programs ranging from Pediatrics to Neurology and Urology.

Key Words: Post-Bacc, Pre-Med, Innovation