The Summer Program for Future Doctors at the Brody School of Medicine

At 8 a.m. on Monday, May 19, 30 students who were selected from 109 applicants will arrive and check in for the 2014 Summer Program for Future Doctors. The participants include 27 aspiring applicants to medical school and three matriculating students who will start their first year at the Brody School of Medicine in August.

SPFD blog post picSince its beginning in 1978, the summer program has been driven by the same mission as the medical school. It’s focused on improving the preparation of medical school applicants with an emphasis on North Carolina natives from groups that are underrepresented in medicine. While all North Carolina residents are encouraged to apply, special consideration is given to minority students, students from disadvantaged backgrounds and non-traditional students who are changing paths and retooling for medical school.

This year’s group is diverse by many scales:

  • Gender:  12 men, 18 women
  • Self-identification: 13 Black/African American, 9 White/Caucasian, 2 Hispanic, 1 Native American, 4 Asian American, 1 Other
  • N.C. County Economic Tier:  1-Tier 1, 6-Tier 2, 23-Tier 3
  • Age: ranges from 20 to 37, mean = 23.9
  • Education: 22 have completed undergraduate degrees, two have graduate degrees, seven are rising college seniors, and two are rising college juniors

In its current format, the Summer Program for Future Doctors is an intense, nine week academic program that allows participants to experience the rigors of the medical school curriculum. Participants take courses in anatomy, biochemistry, physiology and neuroanatomy. These courses are taught by the same faculty members who teach the first year of medical school and give the students an opportunity to show that they can perform, and sometimes even thrive, in this learning environment.

The program provides more than an academic challenge. The students interact with rising second-year medical students who serve as teaching assistants. They have shadowing opportunities provided with Brody physicians, experience patient interviews through the Office of Clinical Skills and participate in a simulation experience.  The program provides the future doctors with feedback on a mock medical school admissions interview and helps them prepare their personal statement required in the admissions process. Time is also allocated for MCAT preparation. Perhaps the program should be renamed “medical school boot camp”!SPFD blog post pic2

After the program ends, each participant is provided with a comprehensive evaluation that includes more than test scores. Each student is evaluated for his/her professionalism, work ethic, ability to work with others, and other non-cognitive values that contribute to the student’s ability to become an effective and compassionate physician. Most medical schools accept this evaluation at the level of an evaluation by a university premedical committee.  Highly-rated participants do matriculate to medical school. Fourteen participants from the 2013 program applied for admission this year. Eight have been admitted to BSOM, one will attend medical school at UNC and one will attend medical school out of state.

Please welcome the 2014 participants! The second floor of Brody will be full of hard-working students who hope to become Brody students and future graduates. A smile or a kind word will help them accomplish their goals.

Richard Ray, Ph.D., Director
Summer Program for Future Doctors