Committee on Diversity and Multicultural Affairs”
The Associated Medical Schools of New York (AMSNY), a consortium of the 16 private and public medical schools in New York State, recently welcomed the 20th cohort of students into the AMSNY Post-Baccalaureate Program at University at Buffalo, SUNY School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
“New York State has long been a leader in producing the nation’s medical students, many of whom return to the community to deliver quality health care,” said AMSNY President and Chief Executive Officer Jo Wiederhorn. “While underrepresented minorities make up 32.9 percent of the New York State population, they account for only 9.5 percent of New York physicians. However, in the past 20 years the AMSNY/University at Buffalo Post-Baccalaureate Program has been extremely successful in attempting to address these concerns and preparing students for medical school by offering them free tuition at the University at Buffalo, a stipend to cover living and personal expenses and conditional acceptance into medical school.”
“Following successful completion of the program and its requirements, the students are guaranteed admission to medical school the following year,” said Ms. Wiederhorn. Launching at the start of the 1990-1991 academic year as a means to increase the diversity in medical school, the post-baccalaureate program offers students a unique 12-month inter-disciplinary curriculum in preparation for medical school. The year-long program, housed at the University at Buffalo, is open to students who are underrepresented in medicine, educationally, or economically disadvantaged and have not been accepted to a medical school. Qualifying students are referred to the program through the admissions process at one of AMSNY’s participating medical schools.
While at the University at Buffalo, students receive interdisciplinary coursework in math and science tailored to each student’s needs; in addition to formal mentoring, advising and tutoring to ensure their ultimate success. Students must receive a B or higher in all courses and must obtain a predetermined Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) score in order to move onto medical school. University at Buffalo covers the students’ tuition and AMSNY provides students with stipends, allowing them to concentrate solely on their academics. Students are not permitted to work while in the program.
According to Ms. Wiederhorn, 92 percent of students in the post-baccalaureate program matriculate to medical school. Eighty-five percent of these students graduate from medical school. “The majority of these graduates continue into primary care residencies in New York State,” she said.
The continued success of the AMSNY post-baccalaureate program led to an increase in state funding and the opportunity to expand the program model. In 2008, AMSNY created a masters degree post-baccalaureate program, which is currently housed at three schools in New York State: SUNY Upstate Medical University, New York Medical College, and Stony Brook University Medical Center. Like the Buffalo program, the masters degree post-baccalaureate program programs serve the same student demographic. Qualifying students are referred to a masters program through the admissions process at participating medical schools. Upon successful completion of the masters program, the students are guaranteed admission to the referring medical school the following year.
The State Budget, passed on June 7, included an appropriation of $1.7 million for program services and expenses.
“This is a testament to just how important this program is to New York,” said Ms. Wiederhorn. “Support from the state and AMSNY’s participating schools, continues to help expand the pool of underrepresented minority, educationally and economically disadvantaged students in medicine while increasing the number of qualified professionals entering the medical profession.”
AMSNY also supports other diversity in medicine programs that encourage students to pursue careers in health and medicine including: the Learning Resource Center at the Sophie Davis College of Biomedical Sciences, the Pathways to Careers in Medicine & Research Program at the City College of New York, the Physician Career Enhancement Program at Staten Island University Hospital and MCAT prep programs at several medical schools in New York State.