MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine and Copiah-Lincoln Community College establish Early Assurance Program


The Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine and Copiah-Lincoln Community College (Co-Lin) have established an Early Assurance Program for qualified premedical students who graduate from Co-Lin and plan to and then attend an accredited undergraduate program of their choice. The program grants those students early assurance of admissions to the medical school.

The partnership is inspired by Michael Henderson, D.O., a first-generation college student who earned his Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree from the MSU College of Osteopathic medicine. Dr. Henderson, who began his educational journey at Co-Lin in Wesson, Miss., has also established a scholarship to assist students who qualify and are from the Early Assurance Program, while attending the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine.

The purpose of this program is to educate students about osteopathic medicine while also creating a direct pathway towards osteopathic medical school. Students in the program will receive advising needed to be successful in medical school and will be provided opportunities for mentorship from faculty and current medical students at the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine. Students who maintain a cumulative science GPA of a 3.5 and overall cumulative GPA of a 3.5 from Co-Lin and their four-year institution, and who also receive a minimum GPA of 3.0 in Biochemistry and an endorsement from the Co-Lin advisor(s), would be eligible to be invited for an admissions interview and to submit their MCAT score(s) to the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Beginning this fall, students at this Mississippi community college will be able to start their journey to the osteopathic medicine field by building relationships with MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine’s community through meetings with faculty and staff, as well as medical students. Shadowing opportunities with physicians in the Wesson area and connections to the medical community will also be available. The immersive program will educate Co-Lin students about osteopathic medicine, including webinars, shadowing experiences and volunteer opportunities, explained Gerica Lee, director of Post-Secondary Pathways programs for the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Dr. Henderson shared that in 1980 he was briefly introduced to osteopathic medicine, and after learning more about the profession, he knew it was the medical path for him. Now, he wants to share the opportunity with others, providing a way for those with dreams of becoming a physician to achieve them.

“Living in a small town, in the south, with restricted resources did present some challenges that I had to overcome,” Dr. Henderson said. “I feel that the early acceptance program is a pathway that will remove some of those stresses for a most deserving student to become the physician that he/she has dreamed of becoming. My vision is for a hardworking, dedicated student, who wants to pursue a career in medicine, not because of it being a job, but accepting this position as a calling to help others, should be given that opportunity.”

Preference for admissions to the early access program will be given to students who graduate from a low-income high school as defined by the U.S. Department of Education; are eligible for, or recipients of, an undergraduate PELL grant; are a graduate of a high school from a medically underserved urban or rural area; are first-generation college students; or those who demonstrate an interest in practicing medicine and/or in a primary care medical specialty for which there is a physician shortage.

“We value our alumni and each individual journey to becoming an osteopathic physician,” said Andrea Amalfitano, D.O., Ph.-D., dean of the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine. “Partnering with Co-Lin gives us an opportunity to connect with our alumnus, Dr. Henderson, and help him to fulfill one of his goals while he also supports future D.O.s through scholarship.”

Co-Lin is also excited to support their alumnus and their students in this new program. “We are incredibly grateful for the opportunity one of our outstanding Co-Lin students will have to attend medical school through this unique partnership with Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine,” said Dewayne Middleton, Ph.D., president of Copiah-Lincoln Community College. “We feel honored by Dr. Henderson’s generosity in establishing this scholaco-lin-03.jpgrship and his vision for creating a pathway that will alter the trajectory of one student’s life. This is an exciting day as we celebrate the start of this one-of-a-kind partnership.”

Co-Lin Wesson Campus Vice President and Chief Academic Officer Jackie Martin echoed Middleton’s excitement. "Through this partnership agreement, our institutions are joining hands to create a bridge of educational excellence, ensuring that our students have access to an early and clear path towards their dreams and aspirations of becoming healthcare professionals in the field of osteopathic medicine," said Martin.

Lee sees the agreement as the starting point for Pathway programs in the college that help students learn about osteopathic medicine. “This agreement will shape to the future of the college and how we formulate pathways for students to become osteopathic physicians.”