Here's to Your Good Pre-Health 

The Pre-Health Speaker Series gives students first-hand information on the best preparation for their intended healthcare field.

ALBANY, N.Y. (November 1, 2016) — The University’s increased attention on providing students with pre-health preparation enters a new phase on Thursday with the start of the Pre-Health Speaker Series.

SUNY Upstate Medical University will host a video conference presentation, “What You Need to Know about Applying to Medical School,” at 5 p.m. in the D’Ambra Auditorium in the Life Sciences Building on the Uptown Campus.

Three more events will address the interests of pre-health students over the course of the year:

  • Best Preparation for Careers in Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy, Nov. 16, with James Brennan and Kris Schultz of Sage Graduate School
  • Are You Ready to Apply This Cycle, March 6, with Donald Pritchett, head of enrollment management at Albany Medical College
  • Planning for a Career in Medicine, late April, a panel discussion among physicians, residents and medical students.

“The pre-health speaker series is an excellent opportunity for our students to get first-hand information regarding the best preparation for their intended healthcare field,” said Kimberly Kerker, one of two pre-health advisors at UAlbany, the other being Emily Sutherland.

“We are very excited about having the participation of SUNY Upstate and the director of admissions from Albany Medical College here this year, since many pre-medical Albany students apply and matriculate at both schools each year. With the rise of interest in the allied health careers, such as physical therapy and occupational therapy, we are also happy to host representatives from Sage Graduate School this month to talk about these careers and our articulation agreements with their school.”


UAlbany academic advisor Emily Sutherland speaks to students about UAlbany's pre-health opportunities.

Connections with other health-related institutions have increased since Laura Schweitzer, former president of Union Graduate College, was named Vice President for Health Sciences and Biomedical Initiatives in September 2015.

“Laura’s experience working with medical schools has been so helpful, as she is able to make connections for us with these schools for our students,” said Kerker. “She has also been instrumental in creating new partnerships for the University, which will help our students with internship, research, and special admissions opportunities.”

University advisement itself has stepped up considerably — for years the one pre-health advisor was a part-time position. Kerker and Sutherland are providing more availability and access for pre-health students through individual advisement and summer orientation programming, along with close coordination with pre-health student groups on campus.

“We have also increased the number of workshops we offer, which allows us to get information to a large number of students all at once,” said Sutherland.

Kerker said participation by students in groups such as the Pre-Med, UAlbany Optometry, and UAlbany Pre-Dental clubs enhances both healthcare career preparation and the overall college experience. “Last year I was approached by a student who wanted to start a pre-physician assistant club on campus and needed an advisor,” she said. “I agreed and we now have a large Pre-PA Club on campus as well.”

“We also invite members of student groups to participate in open house events in the fall and spring,” said Sutherland. “Allowing prospective students and parents to hear from our most engaged and involved student leaders helps highlight the many pre-health opportunities we offer.”

JoAnne Malatesta, vice president and director of advisement, said the Pre-Health Student Programming, which began this fall with workshops on preparation for applying to the range of medical schools, obtaining recommendations and (on Nov. 15) creating persuasive personal statements, is due to the added focus lent by Schweitzer and the efforts of an experience staff.

“We are extremely fortunate to have a renewed energy and attention to serving our pre-health student,” said Malatesta. “Kim and Emily have been advancing new and innovative ideas in pre-health advising for the last two years and with additional University support we are excited about continuing this forward motion.”

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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany-SUNY offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciencesbusiness, public health, health sciences, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.