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Student Admission & Recruitment Initiatives

The Office of Admissions (OA) works closely with COM OD&I and Office of Multicultural Affairs, and is responsible for medical student pipeline, recruitment and retention programs.

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The Associated Medical Schools of New York State (AMSNY) Post-baccalaureate Program

Description: As part of its commitment to increase diversity in medical education, Associated Medical Schools of New York (AMSNY) offers a post-baccalaureate program at the University of Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. This program is designed to increase the enrollment of academically qualified applicants from groups that are underrepresented in medical schools in New York State. Candidates are referred from SUNY Upstate's COM Admissions Committee to the Post-baccalaureate program to strengthen their academic preparedness for
admission the following year. Students are offered conditional acceptance to the COM upon satisfactory completion of the program (as defined by the Admissions Committee). There are about five students per year who enter our medical college through this program.

Diversity categories target for program: Black/African American, Native American, Hispanic/Latino, Low socioeconomic status, Female; Students must be New York State residents to participate in this program.

Responsible individual: Krystal Ripa, Director of Special Admissions Programs

Funding Source: There is no specific annual budget. The process is built into overall recruitment allocation. AMSNY provides financial support for this program based on the number of participants.

Organizational Locus: Admissions Office

Health Justice Conference 2020: Visions of Equity

Targeted diversity categories: All students, with a focus on all of our diversity categories

Description: Since 2018, Upstate has hosted an annual Health Justice Conference on Martin Luther King Jr. Day to address and dissect the health disparities we see in our local community and state-wide. The program continues to grow in size each year. In 2019, 250 students attended; in 2020, 330 students attended. The 2020 conference offered a set of workshops, lectures, and exhibitor tables for local co-ops, health organizations and college admissions representatives. Sessions covered various topics including bioethics, increasing minority students and faculty in our programs, health disparities, indigenous groups, and panels on getting into health profession school and balancing academics and advocacy. Attendees include prospective and current students, community members, professional staff, faculty and more. The admissions office helps to plan the annual Health Justice Conference and admissions staff attend for the whole day, interacting with prospective students.

Inspire Upstate

Targeted diversity categories: Black/African American, Native American, Low Socioeconomic Status

Description: In 2019, the Inspire Upstate program, facilitated by the Health Science Library, was created for summer youth program students at PEACE Inc., a Syracuse community non-profit organization. During the three-day camp, students met and heard from a respiratory therapist, a physical therapist, nurses, physicians, stroke team members, a music therapist and others, including admissions officials, all with the message that these jobs are attainable and available for all with hard work and the right education. Due to Covid-19, the program was canceled for 2020 as PEACE shifted their focus to food insecurities. We hope to be able to resume the program and host another group of 25 students in July 2021.

Master’s in Public Health Scholars Program

Targeted diversity categories: Black/African American, Native American, Hispanic/Latino, Low Socioeconomic Status, Female, Rural

Description: The MPH Scholars program provides historically disadvantaged and underrepresented students the opportunity to strengthen and cultivate their academic, clinical and analytical skills in preparation for medical school. It also helps to strengthen a students' academic record for medical school, and participants are offered conditional acceptance to the MD program. This program grew from 2 to 4 students in the past year. Recent enhancements to the program include scholarships and lunches/check-ins with the program chair. All of our internal special pathway programs also receive a “Success Series” including topics like academic support, medical student panel, diversity panel, study skills and time management and more. In 2020-21, this program will be condensed from a two-year program into a one-year program. Four students will enter in 2020, sustaining the increased enrollment. All are under-represented minority students.

Medical Scholars Master’s in Medical Technology Program

Targeted diversity categories: Black/African American, Native American, Hispanic/Latino, Low Socioeconomic Status, Female

Description: The MedTech MedScholars program provides historically disadvantaged and underrepresented students the opportunity to strengthen and cultivate their academic, clinical and analytical skills in preparation for medical school. The medical technology program specifically helps to strengthen students' scientific background for medical school. Five students matriculated in the 2019-20 academic year and five in the 2020-21 academic year. All are under-represented minority students. All of our internal special pathway programs now also receive a “Success Series” including topics like academic support, medical student panel, diversity panel, study skills and time management and more.

Medical Science Education Transition (MEDSET)

Description: MEDSET is a summer course aimed at preparing incoming first year medical students for transition to the rigors of the curriculum. Participating students are identified by the Admissions Committee and are introduced to academic content, support services, and study techniques. The director of student success initiatives, who also holds a faculty appointment, coordinates this summer course. The director works with faculty members who teach in the first year for content delivery. The course is supported by the COM.

Diversity categories target for program: Black/African American, Native American, Hispanic/Latino, Low socioeconomic status, Female; Non-traditional/Return to school

Responsible Individual: Maryann Grandinetta, Director of Student Success Initiatives

Funding Source: COM Dean’s Office

Organizational Locus: Office of the Associate Dean of Student Affairs and Campus Life

MedPrep Academic Enhancement Program

Targeted diversity categories: Black/African American, Native American, Low Socioeconomic Status, Rural

Description: The MedPrep Academic Enhancement MS in Medical Technology Program offers the opportunity to earn a Master's Degree in Medical Technology in preparation for application to medical school. As a rigorous one-year program, the MedPrep Academic Enhancement MS in Medical Technology program gives students the opportunity to strengthen and cultivate their academic, clinical and analytical skills. The curriculum includes on-going admissions and academic advisement, academic support, tutoring and medical-student peer mentoring. Acceptance into this program guarantees an admissions interview at Upstate.

In the first year of this program (fall 2019 matriculation), the program accepted five students – four from underrepresented and/or low socioeconomic backgrounds and one from a rural and medically underserved community. All five were successful matriculating into the MD program, and all achieved a 3.8 or better graduate GPA in their first semester. In fall 2020, eleven students will matriculate into the MD program from MedPrep, three from low socioeconomic and two from rural/medically under-served populations. Similar programs are typically double or triple the price of the Upstate program’s tuition. We hope this program can respond to a regional need for an affordable resource for students hoping to make themselves more competitive for medical school.

Pre-Admission Workshop (PAW) for Native American Students & Increased Native Student Recruitment

Targeted diversity category: Native American

Description: SUNY Upstate Medical University and the Association of American Indian Physicians (AAIP) invite pre-med/health American Indian and Alaska Native students to a 2 1/2-day Pre-Admissions Workshop (PAW). PAW provides students with the information and skills necessary to succeed in the medical and health-profession school admission process. Student participants have the opportunity to network with peers, admission and financial aid officers, to participate in mock interviews, to hone personal statements and more.

For the inaugural PAW program in 2018, we hosted 20 Native American students. In 2019, our program participation increased to 26 students. We hope to grow the total participation to 30 for the 2020 program. We continue to modify and improve program sessions and content based on student feedback. We communicate monthly with those students who attended in order to continue our role as “advisors” during their undergraduate years. In spring 2020 we held a webinar with our partners at the Association of American Indian Physicians to provide more in-depth information on various admissions-related topics to reach more students. Another webinar with them is scheduled for October 2020. The webinars will be available to previous PAW participants and to prospective students who could not attend a PAW.

Rural Medical Scholars Program (RMSP)

Description: Upstate recognizes the need for doctors in rural communities and is committed to assisting small, rural areas in New York State (NYS) in meeting their health care needs. The RMSP is designed to provide additional support for students who may want to practice medicine in New York state's underserved areas. The program was started in 2007 and has, on average, an enrollment of seventeen students per year. Students accepted into the RMSP receive early assurance of acceptance into the Rural Medical Education Program (RMED), which pairs third-year students with board-certified family physicians in small communities in the region. Students in the RMSP program also have the opportunity in their first and second years of medical school to participate in jobshadowing experiences, lectures of interest, and on-site visits with current RMED students and preceptors. Learn more...

Diversity categories target for program: Rural NYS

Responsible individuals: Carrie Roseamelia, PhD, Assistant Dean of Rural Medicine
Robert Ostrander, MD, RMED Medical Director
Jennifer Welch, Associate Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid

Funding Source: Funding is provided through the overall recruitment allocation.

Organizational Locus: Admissions Office and RMED Program

Student National Medical Association (SNMA) PreHealth Exposure Day 2020

Targeted diversity categories: Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, Native American

Description: Since 2017, Upstate has hosted an annual Pre-Health Exposure Day for minority undergraduate students interested in pursuing a career in the healthcare field. This day is organized by Upstate’s SNMA group and staff from the Admissions Office. In 2020, 230 individuals registered for the conference (compared to 180 students registered in 2019.) Sessions include content on admissions, the student experience, financial aid presentations, minority faculty keynote speakers, campus tours, suture clinics, gross anatomy lab exposure, resume/CV workshops, and a clinical vignette from a course in a first year course in the MD program. Conference attendees come from many undergraduate institutions including but not limited to: Cornell, Binghamton, LeMoyne, Syracuse University, and RIT.

Student-to-Student Advising

Targeted diversity categories: All students, with a focus on all of our diversity categories

Description: Upstate Student-to-Student Advising Program (USSA) connects current Upstate students to undergraduate and high school students to advise them on their path to health careers, graduate or medical school, and potentially recruit them to the different programs at Upstate. Through this program, we hope to be able to provide additional oversight, support and resources to student mentors as an extension of the admissions office. We have identified and confirmed mentors within the medical school for students at local Central NY high schools within a 30-mile radius of SUNY Upstate; these schools have a very diverse enrollment. We have also developed formalized mentoring programs with SUNY Binghamton and Cornell University, and a mentorship program with Syracuse University is in the planning phase.

Syracuse City School District (SCSD) Health Care Coaching Mentorship

Targeted diversity categories: Black/African American, Native American, Hispanic/Latino, Low Socioeconomic Status, Female

Description: Upstate clinicians and students provide mentoring at Henninger High School in the Syracuse City School District to support their P-TECH Programs and build a pipeline partnership with Upstate. Program participants are primarily minority students identified in Upstate’s diversity categories. The program introduces students to infection control, medical terminology, human growth and development, anatomy and physiology, structure and function of body systems, the study of diseases and the disease process, healthcare technology, medical ethics and jurisprudence, standards of professional conduct, patient communication and the fundamentals of patient care.

Syracuse City School District (SCSD) Medical Education for Diverse Students (MEDS) Student Mentorship Program

Targeted diversity categories: Black/African American, Native American, Hispanic/Latino, Low Socioeconomic Status, Female

Description: The MEDS program provides hands-on instruction in medical/basic sciences, public health, and healthcare career exploration at Upstate Medical University and University Hospital. SCSD students have the opportunity to explore Upstate's campus, experience where research and healthcare take place, and interact with our students. Students are introduced to individuals in the various healthcare professions and can ask questions about professional roles and responsibilities as well as career path.

Try on a White Coat Program

Description: Funded by our Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP), Upstate Medical University initiated the, "Try on a White Coat," program. Currently, college freshmen or sophomores who are on a pre-health track can apply for our one-week long health career immersion program. Opportunities include:

  • Exploring different careers in the healthcare field
  • Interacting with current students and faculty at SUNY Upstate
  • An overview of the admissions process including tips on how to become a competitive candidate
  • Service and community outreach opportunities in the Syracuse area
  • Tips for academic success and mentoring.

The associate dean for student affairs, campus life, and coordinator for cross cultural awareness and programming, host this week-long event. In addition to full-time participation for the entire week, several months go into the planning of the event.

Diversity categories target for program: Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, Female

Responsible individual: Sharon Huard, Associate Dean of Student Affairs and Campus Life

Funding Source: COM Dean's Office

Organizational Locus: Office of the Associate Dean of Student Affairs and Campus Life 

U-CARE Volunteer Immersion Program

Targeted diversity categories: All students, with a focus on Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, Native American

Description: The U-CARE Program, launched in 2018, is a full-time, volunteer, immersion opportunity for 24 undergraduate students at Syracuse University, Rochester Institute of Technology and Hamilton College. Program participants volunteer in the hospital to gain hands-on clinical experience to better prepare them for a career in healthcare. Four weeks are spent working side-by-side with unit nursing teams, and two "Doctoring Weeks" are spent with physicians through lectures and patient rounds. Additionally, the program participants can meet with Upstate admissions staff to receive individualized advice to best prepare their own applications to the health professions. In 2019, we also offered spots outside of our listed partner schools specifically to our 'Try on a White Coat' program alumni from previous years. Students build strong bonds living together in our campus housing and also receive meal stipends from Upstate.

Upstate Accelerated Scholars

Targeted diversity categories: Diversity categories vary by each agreement, but will include Black/African American for historically black colleges and universities (e.g., Spelman College and Hampton University)

Description: The Upstate Accelerated Scholars program provides an early admission pathway to students who wish to major in subjects not typically associated with a pre-medical track. Through the creation of these admissions pathways with rigorous undergraduate institutions, Upstate hopes to create a more diversely trained workforce of physicians and relieve students of the pressures of taking the MCAT and the pressures of applying traditionally to medical school. In the past year, Upstate developed new affiliations with Syracuse University, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Hampton University, and Onondaga Community College. In 2018-19, a campus-wide task force with representation from faculty, students, and professional staff was charged with building summer programming for Upstate’s Accelerated Scholars students. Each summer semester is framed around the AAMC Pre-Medical Competencies to develop students’ skills in ethical reasoning, cultural competence, critical thinking, effective communication, and more. The summer programming also affords students the opportunity to become familiar with the campus, facilities, resources, and their future medical school cohort.

Upstate Association of Native American Medical Students

Targeted diversity categories: Native American

Description: In 2020, Upstate students and staff launched the first chapter of the Association of Native American Medical Students (ANAMS) at SUNY Upstate Medical University. This new group supports the newly prioritized recruitment effort mentioned above (PAW) and provides continued support to retain native students.

Upstate Medical University at Syracuse Academy of Sciences

Targeted diversity categories: Black/African American, Native American, Hispanic/Latino, Low Socioeconomic Status

Description: Launching in 2020, Upstate Medical University and Syracuse Academy of Sciences have partnered to deliver mentoring, academic rigor and volunteerism opportunities to students beginning in the 8th grade that are interested in pursuing a career in science and/or healthcare. Syracuse Academy of Sciences has a student population with nearly 45% of students coming from backgrounds historically underrepresented in medicine (Black/African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, and Hispanic/Latino). They also have a high number of students from low socioeconomic backgrounds. We hope to provide rigorous academic and healthcare experience opportunities and exposure to local primary education students in our community and increase recruitment potential for competitive students to Upstate Medical University. A component of the program will require registering and meeting requirements for a congressional award, which will also increase volunteerism in our communities. We have also started a monthly counselor-in-residence program to have a physical presence at the Syracuse Academy of Sciences Charter School for an hour each month.

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