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Aug. 8, 2018 - South Med Prep Scholars Participate in Research Day
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SMPS Research Day 2018.JPGThe University of South Alabama College of Medicine Office of Diversity and Inclusion recently hosted the 2018 South Med Prep Scholars Research Day. The event provided six undergraduate students from historically black colleges and universities the opportunity to gain firsthand exposure to medical research.

South Med Prep Scholars (SMPS) is a two-phase pre-medical school pipeline program designed to provide enrichment and recruitment of talented freshman and sophomore students from select partner institutions.

The program’s eight-week summer sessions focus on research, MCAT preparation and the medical school interview process. Over the course of two consecutive summers, students gain a grasp of the realities of the medical school admission process and learn skills for medical school matriculation.

Throughout the summer, students were paired with a principal investigator to conduct their research. The program culminated with research day, where each student presented their research on topics ranging from neuromorphology to the survival and recovery of pulmonary microvascular endothelial cells.

Michaela Crawford, a rising junior at Xavier University in New Orleans, spoke highly of her research experience. “I was given the opportunity to perform research under Dr. Troy Stevens and work very closely with Ph.D. candidate, Sarah Voth,” she said. “I will be published as a co-author in Sarah’s research paper that will go into the Blue Journal later this year.”

According to LoRen Burroughs, diversity coordinator at the USA College of Medicine, 11 scholars participated in this year’s South Med Prep Scholars program, with five graduating this summer and six moving on to phase 2 in the summer of 2019.

“Since its inception in 2014, there have been a total of three classes to complete the program with four students currently in medical or dental school,” she said. “Starting this fall, recruitment efforts will resume for the summer 2019 cohort of the South Med Prep Scholars program as the Office of Diversity and Inclusion continues its efforts to help students navigate a successful path into the field of medicine.”

The partner institutions for the South Med Prep Scholars program include Dillard University, Morehouse College, Xavier University, Spelman College, and Tuskegee University. “These intuitions are collectively responsible for an ever-growing percentage of the nation’s STEM degree-holders of color,” Burroughs added. “Partnerships with these institutions are critical to the USA College of Medicine’s mission to foster a community of physicians that can relate, identify, and effectively serve Alabama communities.”

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