December 12, 2005

Case receives $1.2 million grant to develop future doctors and dentists

Program also seeks to create a more diverse medical and dental workforce

Case Western Reserve University's schools of medicine and dental medicine recently were chosen as one of 12 national sites for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Summer Medical and Dental Education Program (SMDEP). They will receive a four-year, $1.2 million grant to develop and implement a six-week summer program for qualified undergraduate college students interested in careers in medicine or dentistry. The program will enroll 80 undergraduates from diverse population groups that have historically been under-represented in these health fields.

The new program resulted from a collaboration between the schools of medicine and dental medicine. Nationally, the SMDEP is administered jointly by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) to create a more diverse medical and dental workforce.

At Case, the SMDEP will build on a program that the School of Medicine has successfully operated for the past 16 years, the Health Careers Enhancement Program for Medicine (HCEM). It was one of 11 programs funded under the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's earlier Summer Medical Education Program initiative. More than 1,000 undergraduate students went through that program at Case with impressive results. One third of the minority students who have graduated from the Case School of Medicine during the past decade are HCEM alumni, and 60 to 65 percent of all HCEM alumni from the Case program who apply to medical school are accepted.

By introducing potential medical and dental students to the academic and other requirements of these professions, the new summer program will be designed to help students gain acceptance to medical or dental school and succeed once they are admitted. The program will include academic enrichment in the basic sciences, such as organic chemistry and physics, and key electives, such as writing; learning skills; exposure to medical and dental clinics; exploration of the medical and dental professions; financial-planning workshops, and individualized educational plans to help students achieve their goals.

The co-principal investigators of the new program are Robert Haynie, M.D., Ph.D., associate dean for student affairs at the medical school, and Francis Curd, D.D.S., assistant professor of general dentistry at the dental medicine school. Joseph Williams, director of multicultural affairs at the medical school, is the project director and David Katz, Ph.D., professor of neurosciences, is the science curriculum director. The deans of the medical school and dental medicine school, respectively, are Ralph I. Horwitz, M.D., and Jerold Goldberg, D.D.S.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is the nation's largest philanthropic organization devoted exclusively to health and health care.

For more information about SMDEP and the application process, visit http://www.smdep.org. Information about the Case program may be found on that site, or interested students may contact Joseph T. Williams at (216) 368-1914 or joseph.williams@case.edu or Edna Fuentes-Casiano at (216) 368-1914 or edna.fuentes-casiano@case.edu.

For more information: George Stamatis 216-368-3635.

Posted by: Heidi Cool, December 12, 2005 02:11 PM | News Topics: Grants, Healthcare, School of Medicine

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