Programs expose high school, undergraduate, and graduate students from diverse backgrounds to medicine and research.
Sixty future physicians and scientists spent their summer at Loma Linda University working in laboratories, attending lectures, and preparing research projects to gain experience in the field of health sciences.
For more than 20 years, Loma Linda University School of Medicine has hosted summer pathway programs to expose high school, undergraduate, and graduate students from diverse backgrounds to medicine and research.
“These unique programs provide an integrated learning approach for the participants to open their minds to unlimited possibilities and growth experiences,” said Tamara Thomas, MD, dean of Loma Linda University School of Medicine.
Nineteen Black Seventh-day Adventist senior high school students from across the country recently completed the Minority Introduction to the Health Sciences (MITHS) program. The three-week learning experience allowed the students to explore their future educational goals in their areas of interest. The senior high school students had the opportunity to visit Loma Linda University School of Pharmacy, School of Dentistry, and Allied Health Professions to engage in activities designed to increase interest and awareness. A highlight was touring the Medical Simulation Center to see where students, residents, physicians, and other health professionals train and practice critical skills in a simulated environment.
In order to best prepare the high school students for higher education in health sciences careers, the MITHS program held daily lectures that focus on enhancing test-taking skills in anatomy and physiology, mathematics, reading comprehension, and writing. The MITHS initiative was founded in 1999 and has since sent 350 Black youth through the program.
Another program helping increase diversity in medicine is the Center for Health Disparities and Molecular Medicine’s (CHDMM) Summer Research Program. This eight-week program attracts high school students, undergrads, medical students, and graduate students.
The future scientists participated in four summer programs that offer real-world scientific skills in biomedical research under the supervision of Loma Linda University researchers and scientists. Participants attended seminars and lectures, worked in laboratories, and completed research projects that were presented at the annual Health Disparities Summer Research Program Symposium and Poster Presentations.
An Inland Empire high school student participant shared his experience with the Apprenticeship Bridge to College (ABC) Program. “It has broadened my understanding of health disparities and helped me realize how I could bring about positive change in our society. I’m looking forward to how much this program will further shape my vision and goals for the future.”
Another program participant said that she has a new appreciation for the importance and potential impact of integrating basic science research and clinical medicine, which will hopefully lead her to pursue the MD/PhD program at Loma Linda University.
Loma Linda University School of Medicine’s pathway programs are immersive academic experiences for students to strengthen their skills, interact with peers and faculty, and are a stepping stone to future academic and professional success.