New Partnership Enhances Pre-Health ProgramsBy Susan Andrews
January 19, 2010
More than 30 percent of first-year students at USC College enroll as pre-health majors. This large cohort, along with future pre-health students, soon will benefit from enhanced pre-health undergraduate programming and advising as a result of a special partnership between the Keck School of Medicine of USC and USC College.
Faculty from both schools worked closely in determining how best to maximize their partnership and create a unique program of national renown. The plans include the creation of an advising office specific to pre-health students together with the integration of new and existing pre-health academic programs.
“This exciting and innovative partnership between USC College and the Keck School of Medicine will ensure a truly outstanding academic and advisement experience for USC undergraduates interested in pre-health professions,” said Howard Gillman, dean of the College. “We expect that the academic programs and student experiences arising from this partnership will be a national model for how to educate and prepare the next generation of health professionals.”
The expansion of undergraduate academic programming and advising also will serve as a key tool in the recruitment and retention of pre-health majors. Such efforts will encourage top-performing students to maximize their potential and will provide assistance to others desiring additional counsel.
“This significant new collaboration between the Keck School of Medicine and USC College is an important undertaking to ensure the supply of outstanding health care professionals for California,” said Keck School dean Carmen A. Puliafito. “For our medical school, the program will provide a terrific pipeline for students who already are members of the Trojan Family. The program will help them get a taste of what may lie ahead in a rewarding career in medicine.”
Pre-health has long been a popular area of study in the College, where its students prepare for careers in health and allied health careers. In the fall, 850 of the 2,700 first-year students in the College registered as pre-health majors.
“This new collaboration between the College and the Keck School advances the university’s efforts to provide exceptional training for undergraduates contemplating careers in medicine and health-related fields,” said Gene Bickers, vice provost for undergraduate programs and professor of physics and astronomy. I am tremendously excited by the new opportunities this partnership will provide.”
New courses that would be highly attractive to pre-health students might include introduction to pre-health careers, ethics in medicine, research methods, scientific writing, Third World medicine, medical Spanish and peer mentoring, to name a few. In addition, small group sessions for first-year students that build community and introduce them to pre-health opportunities will be offered.
Other value-added experiences include courses in which students participate in community service, gain firsthand experience in basic science research and shadow a clinical physician of their choice or assignment. The and other innovative ideas are being worked on by faculty from both schools.
The national search for the director of the USC College-Keck School of Medicine Academic and Advising Program, who will help plan and implement this signature experience for pre-health undergraduates, is under way.