Families Encouraged to Get Involved at Medical Parents Association Orientation

Amid the pride and excitement of sending their daughters and sons off for the first year at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, parents recently had the opportunity to see how they, too, can become a vital link in the educational experience. The Medical Parents Association (MPA) held an orientation session August 6 to welcome the Class of 2018, and to urge their families to get involved.

“Our parents are also on the threshold of a wonderful adventure, as their child begins the journey of going from a hopeful pre-med student to a highly trained physician,” said Vicky Egusquiza, M.D. ’87, who along with Alina Perez, B.S. ’82, M.S. ’84, is co-president of the MPA.

An estimated 150 incoming freshmen and their family members turned out for the Medical Parents Orientation, which was held in the Grand Ballroom of the Student Activity Center. They enjoyed a reception and dinner buffet, while also having the opportunity to meet the medical school leadership and listen to a brief overview of what the next four years will hold.

Organizers are hoping parents use that time to become active participants in their daughter or son’s medical education. The MPA is a volunteer organization that supports local community outreach programs, student health fairs and also helps sponsor the John G. Clarkson Freshman Pinning Ceremony, the Dean’s Cup, and Match Day. A tremendous resource for the entire medical school community, volunteers play a key role by lending their time at events or donating needed items.

“Our board members and volunteers work tirelessly to put on events, like tonight’s orientation, to keep you informed and support student programs and activities,” said Perez.

Members of the medical school faculty also welcomed the parents and highlighted the record-setting caliber of students accepted this year. The incoming class had the highest average GPA (3.76), and MCAT (33.5) scores in history. There were 7,667 applicants for 151 openings, for an acceptance rate of 1.9 percent. There are 85 men and 66 women in the M.D. class and 34.4 percent of the students are minorities. The M.D./M.P.H. class is made up of 26 women and 22 men, with 33 percent minorities.

“We are very proud of our medical school and its students,” said Alex J. Mechaber, M.D., associate professor of medicine and Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Medical Education. “I was pleased to share an overview of the Miller School’s education program, innovations, and outcomes of its graduates with the parents of incoming first year students. With every metric, our students continue to excel and this year’s class is poised to be one of our very best.”

In addition to Mechaber, the families also heard from Hilit F. Mechaber, M.D. ’95, Associate Dean for Student Services, Richard Weisman, Pharm. D., Associate Dean for Medical Admissions, and Ana Campo, M.D., Associate Dean for Student Affairs.

One of the MPA’s roles is providing assistance to the Mitchell Wolfson Sr. Department of Community Service (DOCS). Co-Directors Ashley Taggart, M.D. candidate, Class of 2016, and Dustin Massel, M.D. candidate, Class of 2016, encouraged parents to become involved with the student-run organization, which develops, coordinates, and aids in the implementation of the University’s community health initiatives. Throughout the year, DOCS hosts nine health fairs providing health screenings and educational services to impoverished, uninsured, and underserved populations in Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties.

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