Attracting the Best and Brightest Minority Students to Medicine

Summer enrichment program to increase the number of minority students in medical schools

This grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) provided funding for the 1997 class of Tulane University School of Medicine's Summer Reinforcement and Enrichment Program.

The program was part of Tulane's Medical Education Reinforcement and Enrichment Program for students from minority and disadvantaged backgrounds to train greater numbers of physicians from groups underrepresented in medicine who would likely practice in areas with health professional shortages. The Medical Education Reinforcement and Enrichment Program was established by the university in 1969; the Summer Reinforcement and Enrichment Program, in 1972.

Key Results:

  • In 1997, the Summer Reinforcement and Enrichment Program provided 40 undergraduate and postbaccalaureate participants with an eight-week summer program to encourage their selection of medicine as a career and to promote their entry into medical education and training.

    Activities included opportunities for students to spend time in laboratories and clinics and with role models from the medical community, workshops on study and test-taking skills, career and financial counseling, the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) Review, and observation of mock admission interviews.

Although the career paths and test performance of the summer class of 1997 are not known, if the record of previous years' classes held true, over 70 percent of participants went on to pursue health professions education and training. Of the students who took the MCAT Review conducted under the summer program, 55 percent scored above the national minority mean on the MCAT.

Afterward: The Medical Education Reinforcement and Enrichment Program was supported by funds from the federal Health Careers Opportunities Program. Although RWJF support was intended to cover a temporary hiatus in federal funding and allow the summer program to continue, no such funding became available for 1998 and both programs were subsequently closed.