Program Provides Directions on Path to Medical School

Published November 5, 2019

story by dirk hoffman

The importance of self-confidence was a key point stressed throughout the annual “Rx for Success: Preparing for Medical School” program held at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.


Approximately 200 high school and college students from underrepresented groups throughout New York State attended the Oct. 19 event.


Belief in Oneself Plays Important Role

The students took part in a variety of activities, among them information sessions on the medical school admissions process, including the MCAT medical school entrance exam and the interview process; workshops where they learned about the clinical practice of medicine and interviewing skills, as well as how to suture using pigs’ feet and perform lab work.

Participants also toured the Jacobs School building and met with current Jacobs School students, who talked about their experiences applying to and attending medical school.

“During my welcome address, I briefly shared with the attendees my journey to medical school as a first-generation college student and the lessons that I needed to learn throughout my academic career to remain confident throughout my journey to medical school,” says second-year medical student Shawn Gibson, president of the Jacobs School’s chapter of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA).

“Lack of confidence may deter someone from achieving their lifelong dream and I hope all students who attended Rx for Success left inspired and confident to continue their path to medicine,” he adds.

Hard Work Erases Barriers to Success

Keynote speaker Adam Aponte, MD, chief medical officer of NYC Health + Hospitals, focused on motivating all the attendees to realize that pursuing a career in medicine is possible no matter what type of background they have.

He shared his own story of growing up on the streets of East Harlem and working hard to become a practicing pediatrician.

The free program is sponsored by UB’s Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program and the SNMA, which supports current and future underrepresented minority medical students.

According to data from the University at Albany Center for Health Workforce Studies, even in a diverse state like New York, where African-Americans, Hispanics and Latinos comprise more than 30 percent of the population, they make up only 12 percent of the physician workforce.

“I believe that Rx for Success 2019 was a huge triumph. We received a lot of positive feedback from many attendees and it was a pleasure to interact with and inspire many high school and college students to continue pursuing a career in medicine,” Gibson says. “I'd like to thank the SNMA Rx for Success committee on a job well done with planning the event.”