For one month each summer, minority and disadvantaged students from Kansas City area high schools immerse themselves in activities at the UMKC School of Medicine to improve their chances of success as a college student and jump-start a potential career in health care.
The School of Medicine recognized the 2016 class of 49 Summer Scholars during its annual awards dinner and program at Pierson Auditorium.
Participants in the program that takes place each July receive daily instruction in academic areas such as chemistry, and language arts and study anatomy and physiology in the school’s cadaver lab. Classroom experiences range from medical terminology and understanding health disparities to ACT and standardized test taking. Summer Scholars also experience different medical services such as emergency and outpatient medicine, rehabilitation and nursing services as well as surgery.
Darius Jackson, coordinator of diversity programs and recruitment said this year’s program also utilized some of medical school’s student interest groups to lead some of the teaching sessions. For example, the Family Medicine Interest Group, the school’s surgical society and members of the Student National Medical Association led workshops in areas such as casting and suturing.
Summer Scholars is for students entering their junior or senior year of high school. Those students who participate prior to their junior year and return for a second year of the program take part in the Advanced Summer Scholars.
This year’s advanced program included a research component led by Michael Wacker, Ph.D., associate dean for student medical research, and fifth-year medical student Jazmine Smith. Those students studied their DNA, prepared reports and discussed their findings during presentations to their families and classmates at the awards dinner.
This was the 36th year of the program with students from 48 different high schools participating. Many Summer Scholars continue their education in a healthcare field and school officials say that recently, nearly 5 percent of those who complete the Summer Scholars program have been selected for entrance to the UMKC School of Medicine.