Dean's Update 2021-12

December 20, 2021

Forging a new cross-campus pathway to medical school

A new Early Assurance Program agreement with the Charles Drew Science Scholars program in the College of Natural Science is expected to expand cross-campus enrollment into MSUCOM.

Facilitating the entry into medical school of students from underrepresented and non-traditional groups is a critical step in achieving more equitable health care for all, and has always been a hallmark of students previously admitted into the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine. For example, 12% of this year’s entering class (Class of 2025) identify as underrepresented in medicine, 37% are persons of color, 18% are first-generation college students, and 21% are non-traditional students.

As I have noted in a prior Dean’s Update, we continually strive to meet the ongoing challenges of matriculating a maximally prepared and diverse group of students into our college, and ultimately, into the osteopathic profession.  Complementing our expanding portfolio of programs designed to do just that, the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine is thrilled to announce a new pre-college pathway program that will help identify and prepare pre-medical students and first-generation college students who want to serve medically underserved rural or urban communities.

Specifically, through a new partnership with the Charles Drew Science Scholars program at the MSU College of Natural Science, we announce the Charles Drew Science Scholars Early Assurance Program (CDSS-EAP).  As a result of this partnership, we're tapping into an invaluable cross-campus resource of exceptional students. The collaboration will not only foster their education, but also streamline the process of helping vetted, scientifically-inclined students enter a natural glide path to enter our osteopathic medical school. The first applications through the Charles Drew Science Scholars EAP are expected as early as February 2022.

This new entry pathway builds on our long-standing commitment to increasing diversity within the field of medicine along multiple fronts. As part of this program, interested pre-medical students will enroll in OST401 to explore the osteopathic profession, and will be invited to participate in professional and learning development workshops hosted by our college.

Associate Dean for Admissions and Student Life, Dr. Katherine Ruger, explains further that the Charles Drew Science Scholars program will identify students beginning in their first year of college, prepare them academically, and endorse qualified premedical students for the EAP. Application fees are waived for these endorsed, eligible students. After an interview and review, selected premedical students will be granted early assurance of admission to the College of Osteopathic Medicine.

“Students and staff will benefit from the streamlined application process,” says Ruger. “These applicants will also benefit from mentorship by current MSUCOM students and faculty.”

Eligible students in the EAP must have at least a 3.25 science GPA and overall GPA. In line with the highly motivated and caring students at our college who support medicine beyond the walls of a hospital, the strongest candidates will demonstrate an active interest in osteopathic medicine through engagement in health-related student organizations such as PRE-SOMA and MAPS, as well as volunteer or work in clinical health settings in the community.
Ruger credits Dr. Jerry Caldwell, director of CDSS, as “integral in the development of this partnership.”

Caldwell says, “We are very excited about the partnership. In addition to providing Drew students an opportunity for a special path of admission, the various components of the EAP also offer our students opportunities for academic enrichment and professional development in preparation for medical school, and the profession and practice of osteopathic medicine. Our goal is to support and assist Drew students in achieving their goal of going to medical school and becoming physicians, and the Early Assurance Program advances these goals in a major way. We cannot be more delighted to have been able to join with COM to offer this great opportunity and experience for Drew students.”

Reaching out to students who may not even be aware of osteopathic medicine as a career option is a key tactic for recruiting bright and caring students, and this partnership elevates our college profile with high-performing CDSS premedical students who identify with the mission of our college and who will return to their communities to practice.

In turn, our college will provide mentorship and professional development seminars to CDSS students in the EAP pathway, including access to academic resources and mentorship. The college will also provide opportunities for MSUCOM campus site visits, tours, information sessions with current medical students, and research activities.

We are proud to train thousands of physicians who serve Michigan and beyond, and look forward to fostering the talents of Drew Scholars.

Andy Amalfitano