AMSNY Programs Succeed in Diversifying the Health Care Workforce

Committee on Diversity and Multicultural Affairs”

The Associated Medical Schools of New York (AMSNY) is helping to ensure that New York’s doctors reflect the diverse backgrounds and cultures of New York’s residents and provide needed primary care in all communities statewide. The consortium of New York State’s 16 private and public medical schools recently welcomed the 22nd class of students into its Post-Baccalaureate Program housed at the University at Buffalo (UB) School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. The program helps to identify talented students from underrepresented communities and economically disadvantaged backgrounds, and brings them into the medical profession. Upon completion of the Post-Baccalaureate program at UB, nearly all of the students matriculate into the medical school that referred them.

Since launching in 1990 with the goal of increasing diversity in medical school classes, 375 students have participated in the program. Of these students, 93 percent have entered medical school and 87 percent have graduated and pursued their medical residencies. The program is funded through a grant from the New York State Department of Health (DOH), which will be considered for renewal in the coming legislative session. The Post-Baccalaureate program’s demonstrated success supports the continuation of this vital program.

“AMSNY’s diversity programs help to ensure access to essential quality primary care in all communities,” said Jo Wiederhorn, AMSNY’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “While underrepresented minorities make up 34% percent of the New York State population, they account for only 11% percent of New York physicians. Our diversity programs bring students from underrepresented communities into the medical profession. When they become doctors, they are likely to return to those communities to practice medicine, helping to alleviate health care disparities. The AMSNY/UB Post-Baccalaureate Program has been extremely successful in addressing these concerns and preparing students for the academic rigors of medical school.”

The AMSNY/UB Post-Baccalaureate Program provides academic and financial support to students in a unique 12-month inter-disciplinary curriculum. It is open to students who are underrepresented in medicine, educationally or economically disadvantaged, and have been referred to the program through the admissions process at one of AMSNY’s ten participating medical schools.

“As a public medical school, the mission of the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences is to advance health and wellness across New York State, said Michael E. Cain, M.D., Vice President for Health Sciences and Dean of the UB medical school. “This program is strongly supported by all the deans in the state’s medical schools because it gives underrepresented students a proven pathway toward success as medical students and later, in their careers as physicians.”

“At a time when we are looking to train more physicians, especially in primary care, and when we are interested in broadening the physician workforce to underrepresented groups, the AMSNY/UB Post-Baccalaureate Program has been doing exactly that for over two decades,” said David A. Milling, M.D., UB’s Senior Associate Dean for Student and Academic Affairs. “Over the 22 years the program has been in existence, more than 300 students have participated and graduated from medical school. More than half of them went into primary care. If it were not for the opportunities provided by the post-baccalaureate program, these students absolutely would not have been able to rise to this occasion.”

When students first enter the UB program, they are evaluated to determine in which academic and social areas they need support. In addition to learning math and science, students receive 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 to gain acceptance. UB covers the students’ tuition and AMSNY provides funds for the students’ health insurance, books, rent and other daily living expenses, allowing them to concentrate solely on their academics. Following successful completion of the program and its requirements, the students are guaranteed admission into the referring medical school’s next class.

“After receiving my undergraduate degree at the University at Albany, I thought I was ready for medical school,” said Kevin Frison, a graduate of the AMSNY/UB Post-Baccalaureate Program and now a student at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Class of 2016. “However, after completing the AMSNY/UB Post-Baccalaureate Program, I knew I was ready for medical school.”

“The program gave me the opportunity to pursue my passion and my childhood dream of becoming a physician,” said Denise Dennis, M.D., a graduate of the AMSNY/UB Post-Baccalaureate Program and now a UB medical resident. “It absolutely has served me well in terms of helping shape an early part of my career and the physician that I would become. It gave me a good launching pad and helped propel me into medicine by identifying to what expect and how to handle it all.”

The success of the AMSNY post-baccalaureate program in Buffalo led to an increase in state funding and the opportunity to expand the diversity in medicine program model. In 2008, AMSNY created master’s degree post-baccalaureate programs at SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse; New York Medical College, Valhalla; and Stony Brook University School of Medicine, Stony Brook. Like the Buffalo program, the master’s degree post-baccalaureate programs serve the same student demographic. Qualifying students are referred to a master’s program through the admissions process at participating medical schools. Upon successful completion of the master’s program, the students are guaranteed admission to the referring medical school the following year.

“The AMSNY post-baccalaureate program is a phenomenal investment by the state of New York,” said Nilda Soto, Assistant Dean for Office of Diversity Enhancement at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. “Within 12 months, the program provides us with students that are committed, prepared, and will make a major difference in the medical profession.”

“For 22 years, students who have graduated from this program have gone on to be highly successful at UB’s medical school and at schools throughout the state,” said Dr. Cain. “I am proud to say that many of them, such as Dr. Dennis, have then chosen to stay on in Buffalo for their medical residencies, sharing the results of their success with our entire community.”

AMSNY also supports other diversity in medicine programs that encourage high school and college students to pursue careers in health and medicine, including the Learning Resource Center at the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education; the Pathways to Careers in Medicine and 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.


The Associated Medical Schools of New York (AMSNY) is a consortium of the 16 public and private medical schools throughout New York State. AMSNY’s mission is to promote high quality and cost-efficient health care by assuring that the medical schools of New York State can provide outstanding medical education, care and research.

The combined total of New York’s medical schools economic impact equals more than $85.6 billion. This means $1 in every $13 in the New York economy is related to AMSNY medical schools and their primary hospital affiliates.

AMSNY is the State’s voice for medical education. Its members are: