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UNTHSC helps low-income students become physicians

Thu, Jul 25, 2013

Education

JAMP sim lab 2013 smallWhat if high-achieving college students could pursue their dream of becoming doctors, with a guaranteed seat in a Texas medical school, although they have little money?

The Texas Joint Admission Medical Program makes that dream a reality. Since 2003 it has provided financial and academic support for bright undergraduates to get into a Texas medical school and then excel.

“If they continue to meet program requirements – maintain a 3.25 grade-point average in science and score at least 25 on the MCAT – they have a guaranteed seat,” says Fernando Vasquez, Assistant Director for Admissions and JAMP Coordinator, Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine.

This summer UNTHSC and TCOM hosted 26 of the state’s 96 incoming JAMP students. The program included MCAT preparation, primary-care physician shadowing, community service and other activities to explore the medical school experience. (Pictured: JAMP students practice on a manekin in the Simulation lab).

Especially helpful was meeting third- and fourth-year TCOM students, some of whom are themselves JAMP graduates. In a Q&A session, the JAMP students got answers to tough questions, like:

How do I deal with personal relationships that are holding me back from becoming a doctor? (You’ll be glad you found the courage to stop seeing those people, says Shamyal Kahn, TCOM ’15.) And, how do I get out of a study group that’s not helping me? (“Say, ‘Oops, I left the stove on,’ run out and never come back.” – Christian Zuniga, TCOM ’15, a first-generation college student and JAMP graduate)

TCOM’s JAMP students find much to praise. In their own words:

-  “I’m gaining a network of peers who have the same dreams and concerns, and mentors who show me how to study and deal with homesickness.” – Stephanie Cabello, UNT Denton student from Brownsville, Texas

JAMP 2013 Esther Osuji small

Esther Osuji

-  “JAMP opened my mind to financial and educational resources.” – Esther Osuji, UT Austin student from Pflugerville, Texas

- “I appreciate the connections on a personal and professional level, and learning how people think who are from different cultures.” – Ernesto Hernandez, UT Brownsville student from Brownsville

Read more about UNTHSC summer programs for high school and undergrad students.

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