Pathway to the PhD Highlighted

BOSTON (Feb. 10, 2016)—Twenty-six aspiring doctors and researchers experienced life as medical students or biomedical scientists during the fourth Tufts University School of Medicine/University of Massachusetts Boston Enrichment Program (TUSM/UMass Boston). The UMass Boston undergraduates took part in an intensive curriculum that ran for three weeks at Tufts University School of Medicine. The goal of this annual program is to introduce undergraduate students to careers in clinical healthcare or biomedical research. Many of the UMass Boston student-participants come from communities under-represented in medicine or are the first in their family to attend college.

“Tufts University School of Medicine and our colleagues at UMass Boston recognize the need for a more diverse physician-scientist workforce that accurately reflects the populations these students may serve in the future,” said Joyce A. Sackey, MD, dean of Global Health and Multicultural Affairs, Tufts University School of Medicine. “We hope that this pipeline program at Tufts helps fulfill that need.”

The TUSM/UMass Boston Enrichment Program began as a result of the collaborative efforts of Dean Sackey; Gerard Gaughan, MD, clinical professor of medicine at TUSM and a member of the Board of Visitors at UMass Boston, Jane Gaughan, EdD, and Andrew Grosovsky, ScD, dean of the College of Science and Mathematics at UMass Boston.

“The Enrichment Program builds on our pre-med curriculum by giving the students a tangible experience of what it would be like to work as a physician or science researcher,” said Dean Grosovsky. “This program provides our UMass Boston students the opportunity to establish mentoring relationships with Tufts University School of Medicine graduate and professional students and faculty who help them learn how to strengthen their candidacy for applying to graduate and professional degree programs in science and medicine.”

The TUSM/UMass Boston Enrichment Program allows students to select one of two career pathways: the Pathway to Clinical and Health Careers or the Pathway to PhD Students in the clinical pathway shadow medical students and clinicians, and complete coursework in a number of traditional medical school courses, including physical diagnosis and problem-based learning. Students in the PhD pathway learn research and lab techniques while shadowing doctoral candidates from the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at Tufts and the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts.

Both groups participate in a career luncheon series during which representatives from the Friedman School, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine and the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts delivered remarks on career pathways in their respective disciplines. The UMass Boston undergraduates also participate in career workshops about the application process for professional and graduate degree programs, writing resumes, and financing post-graduate education.

In addition to the various clinical and research exposure, students also participated in the Science and Society Seminars co-led by Dean Grosovsky and Jonathan Garlick DDS, PhD, of Tufts University School of Dental Medicine and the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at Tufts. The seminar series aids students with leadership development and provides an overview of effective interview techniques. Students also receive an in-depth look into stem cell research and team-based learning in a classroom setting.

The TUSM/UMB Enrichment Program is one of several pipeline programs offered by Tufts University School of Medicine and the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at Tufts as part of a commitment by the schools to pursue initiatives that will diversify the applicant pool for academic programs in medicine and biomedical sciences and the related workforce. The pipeline programs at Tufts University School of Medicine begin with youth in middle school and high school by providing interesting and informative courses for those who take an early interest in medicine or biomedical sciences.

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