New York’s Medical Schools Visit Albany to Fight for Diversity in Medicine Programs that are Critical to Making Health Care Available to All
Students, faculty and administrators urge lawmakers to commit $1.7 million in funding to maintain post-baccalaureate diversity programs.
Albany, NY – Students, faculty and administrators from the Associated Medical Schools of New York (AMSNY) requested legislative support from lawmakers at the Capitol today for post-baccalaureate programs, funded through the New York State Department of Health (DOH), that have been extremely successful in preparing underrepresented populations to work in the fields of medicine and health sciences. AMSNY warned that the funding methodology offered in the 2013-14 Executive Budget Proposal jeopardizes these important programs.
The State Executive Budget introduced on Jan. 9, 2013, collapses the post-baccalaureate programs’ direct funding stream and combines it with other programs within the DOH, making it unclear how much funding is actually available for individual initiatives such as the AMSNY-led diversity effort. The proposal also does not provide participating medical schools sufficient time to recruit students for the 2013 programs that begin July 1.
“New York State has long been a leader in producing the nation’s medical students, many of whom return to the community to deliver quality health care,” said AMSNY President and Chief Executive Officer Jo Wiederhorn. “While underrepresented minorities make up approximately 33 percent of the New York State population, they account for approximately 10 percent of New York physicians. Over the past several years the AMSNY/University at Buffalo Post-Baccalaureate Program as well as master’s degree post-baccalaureate programs have proven to be extremely successful in addressing these concerns. The master’s degree programs are housed at:
- SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse;
- New York Medical College, Valhalla; and
- Stony Brook University School of Medicine, Stony Brook.
“The Executive’s budget proposal places our recruitment process in jeopardy as we will be unable to inform potential students if they have secured placement in their requested program; and what funding is available to assist them,” said Ms. Wiederhorn. “Almost all of the students are from underserved backgrounds and financial assistance is an important part of their decision-making process.”
“Following successful completion of the rigorous program and its requirements, the students are guaranteed admission to medical school the following year,” said Ms. Wiederhorn.
Launching at the start of the 1990-1991 academic year as a means to increase diversity in New York-based medical schools, the post-baccalaureate program offers students a unique 12-month inter-disciplinary curriculum in preparation for undergraduate medical education.
For example, students participating in the Buffalo program receive interdisciplinary coursework in natural sciences, tailored to each student’s needs. In addition, students receive formal mentoring, advising and tutoring to ensure their ultimate success. Students must receive a B or higher in all courses and must obtain a predetermined Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) score in order to move onto medical school. AMSNY provides students with stipends, allowing them to concentrate solely on their academics.
According to Ms. Wiederhorn, 93 percent of students in the post-baccalaureate programs matriculate to medical school. Eighty-seven percent of these students graduate from medical school. “The majority of these graduates continue into primary care residencies in New York State,” she said.
AMSNY also supports other diversity in medicine programs that encourage students to pursue careers in health and medicine including: the Learning Resource Center at the Sophie Davis College of Biomedical Sciences, the Pathways to Careers in Medicine & Research Program at the City College of New York, the Physician Career Enhancement Program at Staten Island University Hospital and MCAT prep programs at several medical schools in New York State.
“Certainty of what funding is available for our students is essential,” said Ms. Wiederhorn. “With the Affordable Care Act on the horizon, the need to ensure a sufficient number of diverse physician workforce has never been greater. At minimum, funding should be maintained at last year’s level of $1.7 million for program services and expenses.”
About AMSNY: The Associated Medical Schools of New York (AMSNY) is a consortium of the sixteen public and private medical schools across the State. Its mission is to promote high quality and cost-efficient health care by assuring that the NYS medical schools can provide outstanding medical education, care and research.
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