Baylor College of Medicine, in partnership with The University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA), has been awarded a contract from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Bureau of Health Professions, Division of Disadvantaged Assistance, to establish a model Hispanic Center of Excellence (HCOE) program in South Texas.
The goal of this HCOE is to graduate significantly greater numbers of Hipanic physicians to serve the medically underserved region of South Texas and to meet minority health care needs in general.
To achieve this goal, Baylor College of Medicine and The University of Texas-Pan American agree to do the following.
i. Establish the Premedical Honors College at UTPA to provide a rigorous undergraduate premedical curriculum to assure that students selected for the program have the academic preparation and background knowledge necessary to succeed in medical education and to attain careers in medicine.
The curriculum has been developed jointly by UTPA and Baylor faculty. The Premedical Honors College will focus on science coursework. All students selected for the program will major or double major in chemistry and/or biology and will take a prescribed curriculum.
ii. Select up to 25 high-ability Hispanic students each year from high schools throughout South Texas for participation in the program.
Each year, students from South Texas high schools will be recruited, and up to 25 will be selected by Baylor's Admissions Committee to participate. Selection of PHC students will be based upon students' strong previous academic performance, above-average standardized test scores, teacher recommendations, interviews, motivation, and a strong background in science, mathematics, and technology.
iii. Offer provisional admission to Baylor for each student selected for the program.
Students selected for the program will be provisionally accepted to Baylor College of Medicine directly out of high school. However, to remain in the program, students will have to maintain at least a 3.0 ("B") average; to matriculate into Baylor, all students will have to complete all Baylor premedical requirements and achieve a score of at least 24 on the MCAT, with no section score less than 7.0.
iv. Implement financial, academic and counseling support systems at UTPA and Baylor to help assure graduation of participating students from the Premedical Honors College and from Baylor.
At UTPA, students will have access to specialized academic and social counseling and support mechanisms, including computer-assisted tutoring. Qualified professionals will be available as needed to assist students to complete required course work and to help students resolve any problems that may arise during the program. These individuals will provide guidance in attaining educational goals and will be knowledgeable of cultural considerations that may influence students' behaviors. Both UTPA and Baylor will offer counseling services that can assist students to deal with personal, family, and financial problems that can impede academic advancement. At UTPA, all fees and tuition will be covered. For program students the level of financial support to be provided by Baylor College of Medicine will be determined as students enter the medical school phase of the program.
v. Provide mentorships and summer activities in Houston and South Texas for program students at UTPA.
Students at UTPA will be paired with faculty mentors from Baylor and UTPA, as well as with primary care physicians in South Texas, thereby gaining exposure to faculty and physician responsibilities, scholarly expectations, and health issues that affect minority populations in South Texas and elsewhere. In addition, during the summer after their freshman year in the PHC, all students will be required to attend the six-week Honors Premedical Academy in Houston, which will provide students with clinical and academic experiences.
vi. Offer a medical school preparatory program for PHC graduates prior to their matriculation into Baylor.
A four- to six-week prematriculation program will be offered during the summer of 1998, and every summer thereafter, to students who successfully complete the PHC curriculum and attain required MCAT scores. The program will focus on anatomy and cell biology. Special activities will enhance students' study skills and introduce students to support structures available at Baylor.