Miller School Continues Diversity Initiatives with Miami Model Summer Programs

Long recognized for its unwavering commitment to diversity, the Miller School will continue promoting student diversity in the healthcare profession by helping underrepresented minorities like Kimberly M. Tuggle successfully compete for medical school admission through the Miami Model Summer Program, which includes two preparatory initiatives for college students and one for high schoolers.

“This was the most challenging yet rewarding experience of my educational career,” said Tuggle, who participated in the model program’s Minority Students in Health Careers Motivation Program last year. “I know that I am completely ready for the rigors of medical school because of this program.”

The Miami Model Program is funded by the Miller School and a Health Resources and Services Administration grant. The Dr. Astrid Mack Diversity Endowment Fund has been created to sustain the programs and create scholarships in the near future. The fund is named for the program’s former director and the Miller School’s former associate dean for minority affairs. The model programs have been a cornerstone of student diversity initiatives at the Miller School for more than three decades. Supported by the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, this year’s programs will help prepare 75 minority students for careers in healthcare.

Both the Minority Students in Health Careers Motivation Program and the Medical College Admission Test Preparation Program provide minority college students opportunities to learn and work in an environment that encourages and empowers them to reach their fullest potential, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, disability, or socioeconomic or political background.

A mini first-semester medical education experience, the motivation program immerses students in select basic science courses for seven weeks. The eight-week Medical College Admission Test Preparation Program helps premedical students prepare for the MCAT through lectures covering the physical and biological sciences and verbal reasoning components of the test. Both programs also offer opportunities to shadow UHealth/Miller physicians at Jackson Memorial Hospital, one of the nation’s premier teaching hospitals.

Under the guidance of Nanette Vega, Director of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, the programs are open to college juniors and seniors as well as recent college graduates seeking careers in healthcare, particularly medicine. Hundreds of students apply every year, but only the top 25 are chosen to participate in each program.

“These are highly competitive programs,” said Vega. “Some of the most promising students from across the nation vie for a spot, because it truly is a remarkable experience in which they have a unique opportunity to not only gain invaluable knowledge through the curriculums, but also participate in clinical rotations with and receive mentoring from our expert faculty.”

In addition to the motivation and MCAT programs, the model program includes a seven-week High School Careers in Medicine Workshop for incoming high school seniors that exposes students to a teaching-learning environment to help them gain the skills needed to pursue a medical career. Through the program, students receive hands-on learning, including in-depth laboratory sessions and select courses on anatomy, cellular and molecular biology, language arts, sociocultural anthropology and computer informatics – all focused on each field’s relevance to the study and practice of medicine.

The application deadline for the 2013 motivation and MCAT programs is Friday, March 22, and the deadline for the high school program is Friday, April 19. Applications and more information about the programs are available online.

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