BACKGROUND: Although the population of diverse applicants applying to medical school has increased over recent years (AAMC Diversity in Medical Education: Facts and Figures 2012); efforts persist to ensure the continuance of this increasing trend. Mentoring students at an early age may be an effective method by which to accomplish diversity within the applicant pool. Having a diverse physician population is more likely able to adequately address the healthcare needs of our diverse population.
PURPOSE: The purpose of this study is to initiate a pipeline program, called the Medical Student Mentorship Program (MSMP), designed to specifically target high school students from lower economic status, ethnic, or racial underrepresented populations. High school students were paired with medical students, who served as primary mentors to facilitate exposure to processes involved in preparing and training for careers in medicine and other healthcare-related fields as well as research.
METHODS: Mentors were solicited from first and second year medical students at the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix (UACOM-P). Two separate cohorts of mentees were selected based on an application process from a local high school for the school years 2010-2011 and 2011-2012. Anonymous mentee and mentor surveys were used to evaluate the success of the MSMP.
RESULTS: A total of 16 pairs of mentees and mentors in the 2010-2011 (Group 1) and 2011-2012 (Group 2) studies participated in MSMP. High school students reported that they were more likely to apply to medical school after participating in the program. Mentees also reported that they received a significant amount of support, helpful information, and guidance from their medical student mentors. Overall, feedback from mentees and mentors was positive and they reported that their participation was rewarding. Mentees were contacted 2 to 3 years post MSMP participation as sophomores or juniors in college, and all reported that they were on a pre-healthcare career track.
CONCLUSION: The MSMP may serve as an effective pipeline program to promote future diversity in college and graduate training programs for future careers in science and medicine.
- High school
- Medical student
ASJC Scopus subject areas