[Skip to Content]
Chancellor Jim Malatras with Upstate President Mantosh Dewan

SUNY Chancellor visits Upstate to announce new pathway program for disadvantaged students to attend medical school

State University of New York Chancellor Jim Malatras visited Upstate Medical University on Thursday to announce the first statewide initiative to help more Educational Opportunity Program students enroll in SUNY’s medical universities, including Upstate.

SUNY will launch the Pre-Medical Scholars Pipeline Program under the chancellor’s SUNY For All initiative to create pathways for SUNY Educational Opportunity Program students to attend medical school. SUNY EOP serves New York state’s disadvantaged students from underserved communities gain access and succeed in undergraduate programs.

The new SUNY initiative is set to begin in summer 2021 with 25 students, which would be expanded based on initial results and further funding. To be considered for the program, candidates must be a SUNY EOP sophomore or junior on a pre-medical track, have a grade point average of 3.2 or higher, and have successfully completed two semesters of general chemistry and two semesters of biology. 

The program seeks to strengthen the preparedness of SUNY EOP students for medical education and build an effective pipeline to SUNY medical schools. The program will prepare students for success in their undergraduate programs, medical school and the medical profession through academic support, mentorship, clinical exposure, assistance with MCAT preparation, academic coaching and workshops.

“The new SUNY for All Pre-Medical Scholars Pipeline Program will be a deliberate and well-executed mechanism to increase much-needed diversity in our medical school and across the state,” said Upstate President Mantosh Dewan, MD. “This program will allow more young men and women from a wider variety of backgrounds pursue their dreams of becoming a doctor – a profession that has never been more important or valued as we continue to fight COVID-19. The SUNY EOP has a long and commendable history of propelling students from disadvantaged backgrounds and we are eager to work with them to help students find successful academic careers at Upstate.” 

The new medical pathway program is being established at Upstate, University at Buffalo, Downstate Health Sciences University and Stony Brook University. This program builds upon the successes of Stony Brook Medicine’s Pre-Medical Access to Clinical Experience (PACE) program, which is a pipeline program that enhances the entry of underrepresented minorities into medicine and monitors their success. 

Upstate has found success with other medical pathway programs including the Early Assurance Program (EAP) for College Sophomores, the Accelerated Scholars Program with Rochester Institute of Technology, the SUNY partnership pipeline to the behavior analysis studies master’s degree program at Upstate and the partnership among Upstate, Onondaga Community College and Cayuga Community College for the associate degree in nursing program.

Eligible Pre-OP students will apply through the SUNY Office of Opportunity Programs and will be selected by a committee comprised of SUNY faculty, staff and alumni along with representatives from each of the SUNY Medical Schools.

“The Educational Opportunity Program was groundbreaking in 1967 in acknowledging that too many promising students from New York’s disadvantaged communities didn’t attempt go to college because they didn’t believe they could succeed, and now over 50 years of resources and dedicated support by New York state has helped 76,000 students do just that,” said Chancellor Malatras. “History has shown us that well-qualified students from underserved communities often don’t have the same opportunities to attend the nation’s medical programs and we can change that in New York state. SUNY’s new Pre-Op program will take our EOP program to the next level by empowering well-qualified students to enter and successfully complete medical school regardless of their economic means or background.”

Chancellor Malatras will convene a group made up of System Administration and the SUNY Medical School to lead in designing the program to ensure compliance with the Liaison Committee on Medical Education accrediting body and to help select the students for Pre-Op.

“Upstate’s commitment to the SUNY Pre-OP shows that Upstate is being intentional about increasing access and support for students that have been historically underrepresented and or excluded from careers in medicine and health care,” said Nakeia Y. Chambers, MSEd, director of Multicultural Affairs & Student Inclusion and director of EOP at Upstate. “By anchoring this program within the family of SUNY EOP, Upstate stands with a community dedicated to providing resources that supplement the academic, financial and professional support for students not only in Central New York, but the entire state. It not only about opening doors, but preparing these students to thrive so they can answer the call of our growing patient population.”

A final plan for the SUNY for All pipeline program will be provided to Chancellor Malatras by June 2021 before the first summer 2021 class, and will be comprised of: 

  • Academic and psychosocial supports to successfully pursue careers in medicine, including:
    • Supplemental tutoring for gateway classes (organic chemistry, physics, biochemistry, calculus)
    • Clinical and laboratory experience
    • Exposure to medical school environment and curriculum
    • Mentorship (medical school faculty and/or EOP alumni physicians)
    • Workshop/Seminar Series (health disparities, public health, policy)
    • Virtual MCAT preparation workshops and study groups
    • Summer enrichment program
    • Research experience
    • Internships
    • Summer Bridge Program before first year of medical school
    • Academic and socioemotional supports for students once they are enrolled in medical school 
  • Identifying and pairing students with mentors (EOP alumni, SUNY medical faculty, medical professionals, current SUNY medical students)
  • Special admission consideration at the SUNY medical schools for successful pre-medical scholars
  • A system-wide EOP community of pre-medical scholars who will serve as a source of camaraderie and support for each other
  • Providing virtual test prep workshops and panel discussions related to medical school admissions
  • Establishing a clearinghouse of clinical and research experiences 
  • Cultivating institutional partnerships