The ICAN Medical Scholars Program
The ICAN Medical Scholars Program is a new and exciting mentorship program aimed at helping 9th-12th graders from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds prepare for a career in Medicine. The program accomplishes this goal by providing students with a simulated medical school curriculum, in-depth mentorship and clinical skills training. The curriculum is patterned after the new pathway program which I learned while a student at Harvard Medical School. I also have served two terms on the Harvard Medical School admissions committee where I saw the prototype of the successful medical school applicant. My goal for this program is to design a comprehensive, multifaceted curriculum which will provide students with a well rounded medical education on par with that of a medical student.
Each student commits to participate for three to four years. During that time, they will be taught Human Anatomy, Physiology and Disease Patho-physiology. They will also learn medical ethics, how to conduct physical exams, how to take patient interviews, how to critically analyze medical literature and how to conduct clinical and community based health services research. Students are also paired with a Harvard Medical School faculty mentor during their time in the program. After extensive focus group testing, I designed a curriculum which provides all of the intended coursework and reinforces leaning. We also hold biannual mentorship and career counseling sessions tailored to each student.
We are about to conclude our first semester where we have had 11 scholars participating every Saturday morning, many from the Bowdoin/Geneva neighborhood. The scholars are so engaged that they do not want to take breaks during the three hour sessions! I must say that I have been blessed to have good people who have helped from the beginning. Ms. Vera Costa is an outstanding individual who maintains our administrative and counseling activities and Shirley Ortiz provides amazing support and guidance to our kids. Our ultimate goal is to grow the program to incorporate other disciplines and reach out to individuals locally and globally to participate.