Albany Medical School Accepts Record Number of UAlbany Students into Early Assurance Program
Albany Medical College accepted a record number of UAlbany students into its MD program as part of a partnership designed to increase the number of applicants from underrepresented backgrounds.
ALBANY, N.Y. (Nov. 17, 2020) — The University at Albany and Albany Medical College (AMC) have announced the next cohort of UAlbany students accepted to AMC’s Doctor of Medicine program as part of a partnership designed to increase the number of applicants from underrepresented backgrounds.
The Early Assurance Pathway Program (EAPP) was launched in 2018 in response to experts’ suggestion that diversifying the student body in medical schools will help meet the needs of an increasingly diverse population and will ultimately mitigate health disparities. The program recruits and matriculates highly competitive UAlbany undergraduate students from demographic sectors that have traditionally been underrepresented in the medical profession, as well as first-generation and low-income students, to earn an MD from AMC.
This year, AMC accepted a record number of students into the program — 13.
Jennifer Amoh is a public health major who grew up in Alexandria, Virginia after migrating to the United States from Ghana when she was 12. As a young adult, she started helping with health screenings through her church and noticed that the doctors “did not look like her.” Amoh decided that she would try to "fix that" for others like her. She says her interest in racial health disparities has increased which was her motivation to major in public health as she also works to fulfill her pre-med requirements. At the School of Public Health, Amoh is working with professor Melissa Tracy on a National Institutes of Health-funded violence prevention project. Upon conclusion of her undergraduate degree, Amoh plans to pursue an MPH during a “gap year” before attending AMC. She believes the community-based perspective that she will bring into the medical school class as an MPH graduate will be very important.
Abby Dazzo is a biology major and psychology minor from East Setauket, Long Island, who credits her experience in clinical settings for chronically disabled elders with reinforcing her desire to pursue a career in medicine. She is very active in extracurricular activities on campus, and says being a biology tutor is her favorite. She also volunteers her time helping freshman who are experiencing stress develop coping strategies.
Thermutis Djanie, an Equal Opportunity Program (EOP) student, is a human biology major who was born in Ghana and lived there until she was 14, when she, her mother and older brother moved to Hopewell Junction. She credits EOP’s orientation with helping her become familiar with the campus, its resources and to build friendships that have persisted which have helped to support her during her education. She also noted that her advisers and mentors have greatly supported her through her first and second years – helping her to have already finished her Practical Nursing Certificate.
Umme Hani is a double major in studio art and human biology who immigrated to Sunnyside, Long Island, from Bangladesh. She attributes her interest in medicine to an aunt who is a gynecologist. When she was 10, Hani began to read her aunt's textbooks and became fascinated with the human body. She was inspired by the fact that while her aunt was brought up in poverty, she went to medical school and became a successful doctor. For two years, Hani volunteered in a private pediatric clinic in New York City and helped serve as a translator there and said she found that the patients seemed more likely to express themselves to her.
Michaela Kirwan is a biology major and member of the Honors College. She grew up in Cornwall. Kirwan had previously worked as a scribe at Ellis Hospital’s emergency department until she recently trained as a patient care assistant (PCA) at Albany Medical Center – just in time for the COVID-19 pandemic. She remained in Albany and started as a PCA on a surgical unit and worked consistently throughout the most intense COVID period. Though the experience was challenging, it was also meaningful. “There was learning and re-learning and mastering new skills almost every day. It was intense, but very rewarding,” Kirwan said.
Kayleigh Ross is an honors college student from New City, studying art history with a biology minor. Ross, a Native American, believes that she will bring unique and deep visual analytical skills to the bedside of her future patients. She says that through her major she has developed a keen sense of observation. “The skills that I’ve acquired in analyzing art can be applied to understanding patients -- they will help me understand not only superficially what patients say, but also listen deeper for what they actually mean,” Ross said. She participated in the New Visions program in high school and has had several clinical experiences including working in the local youth ambulance squad in her hometown.
Alex St. George
Alex St. George is a biology major who grew up in New Paltz. Like Ross, St. George was part of the New Visions program in high school and says his experiences there served as the basis for his initial interest in medicine. He also noted that working to become an Eagle Scout helped him become a leader and gain a lot of “emotional intelligence and insight into the personalities and attitudes of others.” St. George had several experiences related to clinical medicine including the Five Quad ambulance service on campus, as a summer camp counselor working with children and as a cook in a retirement community where he worked directly with older adults.
Kiera Whitely grew up in Brooklyn and is a biology major. She is a first generation college, Afro-Caribbean student who “hopes to bring authentic cultural diversity and broaden the way her classmates might consider different aspects of the lives of their patients.” Whitely’s extracurricular activities are extensive and include clinical experience at New York Presbyterian's Brooklyn campus as well as work study activities in the Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement. At the latter, she helps with voter registration, works with the NAACP and is involved in a special effort to help create a mental health clinic in inner city Albany.
Five additional students were accepted into the program.
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