Tag Archives: Summer Scholars

$3.2-million grant supports new STAHR program for students from disadvantaged backgrounds

A new grant-supported program will allow the School of Medicine to expand its Summer Schools program for high school students and create new programs for undergraduate and graduate students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

When it comes to attending and completing a health professions degree program, students from economically and educationally disadvantaged backgrounds typically succeed at a far lower rate than students from strong schools with thriving communities.

The UMKC School of Medicine, in collaboration with the School of Dentistry and the School of Pharmacy, is working to change that with the aid of a recent five-year, $3.2-million grant from the United States Health Resources and Services Administration to support a partnership program designed to improve those numbers.

Students in Training, in Academia, Health and Research (STAHR) Partnership is a two-pronged initiative to increase the number of students from disadvantaged backgrounds entering health care programs and better prepare them for success. It will continue to build up and expand on the medical school’s already successful high school Summer Scholars program and the dental school’s Admissions Enhancement Program.

Undergraduate and graduate students admitted to UMKC health professions programs have the opportunity to participate in the STAHR Ambassador program, a research-based mentoring model that uses defined principles, known as the Thomas Principles, to retain and graduate students.

Alice Arredondo, UMKC admissions director,  also serves as assistant dean of admissions at the School of Medicine. A co-investigator on the grant proposal, Arredondo said students from disadvantaged backgrounds historically experience greater challenges entering and succeeding in health care fields.

“This grant will allow us to support students in overcoming academic, economic and social barriers, while having an impact on the diversity in our educational environment and the success of students from disadvantaged backgrounds in the UMKC health sciences,” she said.

Nate Thomas, School of Medicine associate dean for diversity and inclusion and co-investigator, said he and Arredondo used research-based best practices for admissions, retention and graduation and work already being done at the schools of medicine, dentistry and pharmacy as a basis for their successful grant request. He added that the medical school’s quickly growing student research program played an important role.

Academic preparation and resources are lacking for many students in the Kansas City region who are interested in entering the health professions. The STAHR program is designed to address those needs and introduce students from underprivileged backgrounds to careers in health care that would otherwise seem out of reach.

“This partnership will allow us to help students develop academically, psychosocially, professionally and as leaders who can have a positive impact on the workforce and their communities,” Thomas said.

The Scholars Summer Program will offer different tracts for high school and current college students. The high school program will expand the medical school’s Summer Scholars program that began in 1980 for students to explore career opportunities in health care and prepare them to enter and succeed in college. The grant allows this program to extend from two to six weeks, and provides increased focus on recruiting and retaining students interested in health care fields. The undergraduate program will also be six-weeks and with increased experiences in a clinical setting, supplemental instruction in the sciences, research opportunities, and reinforced skill development to support student academic progression and retention.

The year-round Ambassador Program for undergraduate and professional students will focus on student development. A tiered cluster mentoring framework with faculty members, residents, practitioners and upper-class college students, provides leadership and career development to further prepare younger college and professional students for success in post-graduate residencies and the health professions workforce.

“By providing students early access to hands-on programming and mentoring, we are focused on preparing students to achieve success in college and, eventually, graduate or professional school and the workforce,” Arredondo said.

Patricia Marken, Pharm.D., F.C.C.P., associate dean for student affairs at the School of Pharmacy, said the grant supports programs that will help produce health care professionals that are in demand.

“This grant increases the chance for talented students to achieve a career that is personally fulfilling, positively impacts communities and provides financial security for their own family,” she said. “The School of Pharmacy is excited to be a part of this grant and partner with our colleagues in the UMKC Health Sciences District.”

HRSA highlighted the collaborative partnership between the schools as a strength.

“I am really excited about the inter-professional opportunities for our dental and dental hygiene students to build relationships with students pursuing other health care careers,” Melanie Simmer-Beck, professor and director of the School of Dentistry Admission Enhancement Program, said.

The School of Nursing and Health Studies, while not part of the funding proposal, did help in framing the initial steps of the grant, Thomas said. It does offer similar federal-grant funded programming for high school and college students, including KC HealthTracks, providing mentorship and programs for more than a dozen area high schools.

Summer Scholars puts area students on track for careers in health care

Students from Kansas City area high schools took part in the 38th year of the UMKC School of Medicine Summer Scholars Program in July.

Sade-joy Dugbo had an idea that a career in health care might be part of her future. After spending the last week of July in the UMKC School of Medicine’s Advance Summer Scholars program, she’s convinced.

As she prepared for her senior year at Kansas City’s Notre Dame de Sion High School, Dugbo joined a group of nearly 85 area high school juniors and seniors taking part in a one- or two-week experience in the health care profession.

“Actually, seeing what it’s like to be a medical student, seeing first-hand what they do, what the doctors do, has really changed my view of what the medical field is like,” Dugbo said.

Didactic classroom sessions are part of the two-week Summer Scholars experience.

For 38 years, the Summer Scholars program has provided minority and disadvantaged students in the Kansas City metropolitan area the opportunity to find out first-hand what a career in health care looks like. The program also prepares them to be successful as they move from high school to college.

Students take part in a two-week session of Summer Scholars each July during which they 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.

Those who complete the two-week session can return the following summer to take part in the Advanced Summer Scholars, which provides additional experiences in different medical services such as emergency and outpatient medicine, rehabilitation, and nursing. This year’s advanced group was treated to additional hospital experiences including viewing surgeries in the operating room and shadowing students and physicians at Children’s Mercy Kansas City.

The experience for advanced scholars was broken into two one-week sessions this year in order to allow more students to take part. Dugbo was part of the first session of Advanced Summer Scholars.

“The ability to shadow the doctors and see the students in the hospitals was huge because I got to see how they interact with patients and what their daily lives were like,” she said.

The hospital experiences opened the eyes of Emily Reed, a senior at Winnetonka High School who was also part of the Advanced Summer Scholars.

“Last year it was more time learning chemistry and biology,” she said. “This year, there’s a lot more time in the hospital where last year it was mainly shadowing medical students in the clinic. The good thing about this program is that it showed me a variety of areas of medicine. I thought I was dead set on going into one area of medicine because I’ve always been interested in surgery. But now, it’s going to be a matter of seeing how many choices I have and what decision I’m going to make in the future.”

Dugbo said that it’s still too early to say what field of medicine she’d like to enter or where she will go to school in the future, but her experiences these past two summers has made her sure of one thing. Her plan is to start looking into pre-medical school programs soon, and that includes applying to the UMKC School of Medicine.

“We learned this is what you’ll be doing in medical school, this is what you’ll be doing after medical school. It’s really solidified what I want to do in the future,” Dugbo said. “Now, it’s 100 percent, I want do something in the medical field because I’ve loved this experience.”

School of Medicine welcomes largest class of Summer Scholars

High School students from throughout Kansas City took part in an orientation session for the 2017 UMKC School of Medicine Summer Scholars program on Friday, July 7.

July at the UMKC School of Medicine is a time for high school students to immerse themselves in the school’s annual Summer Scholars Program. The activity has been providing opportunities for minority and disadvantaged students in the Kansas City metropolitan area to get a head start on a potential career in health care for 37 years.

This summer’s class is the largest ever with 78 students signed up to take part, nearly 30 more students than a year ago.

Darius Jackson serves as coordinator of the School of Medicine’s diversity programs, including Summer Scholars. He said the growth is partly by design and partly out of necessity to meet a growing need.

“I was a little ambitious,” Jackson said. “We had around 300 applications for Summer Scholars this year. We kept seeing the number of applications increase and decided, let’s find a way to increase our numbers instead of turning away more students.”

The solution was to expand the program by adding a third two-week session and allowing in more first-time participants.

Previously, all students in the program for the first time were in the Summer Scholars group, and those returning for a second year were in the Advanced Summer Scholars program. This year, one class of first-year scholars was made up of high school juniors and the other consisted of high school seniors. Students returning for a second year of the program still participate in the Advanced Summer Scholars program.

Prior to starting the program, students and parents from all three groups participated in an orientation session. The full two-week session for juniors begans Monday, July 10, with seniors starting a week later and the Advanced Summer Scholars beginning the week after that.

Each year, Summer Scholars 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, as well as surgery.

The advanced program includes a research component and additional experiences in various clinical rotations.

Summer Scholars prepares students for a career in health care by helping them build a foundation for success in multiple areas including interview skills, study and test-taking strategies, and interpersonal and communication skills.

School recognizes 35th class of Summer Scholars

The 2015 class of Summer Scholars with program director Ken Beene (right) and program intern Vanessa Liddell (left).
The 2015 class of Summer Scholars with program director Ken Beene (right) and program intern Vanessa Liddell (left).
The 2015 class of Advanced Summer Scholars with program director Ken Beene (right) and program intern Vanessa Liddell (left).
The 2015 class of Advanced Summer Scholars with program director Ken Beene (right) and program intern Vanessa Liddell (left).

For the past month, 48 area high school students were immersed in the Summer Scholars program at the UMKC School of Medicine that many hope will be a springboard to their future as healthcare professionals. Summer Scholars celebrated its 35th class on July 31 with an annual awards luncheon and forum at Kansas City’s Guadalupe Center.

Summer Scholars takes place each July offering basic science enrichment, exposure to various aspects of the health care field, interviewing and personal development skills, and preparing to apply to a medical school. It also provides the students the opportunity to interact with medical students and professionals.

The program is made up largely of high school juniors and seniors and includes a group of Advanced Summer Scholars, attendees returning for a second session. This year’s program welcomed 36 Summer Scholars and 12 Advanced Summer Scholars.

As part of the awards ceremony and forum, students gave brief presentations of what they learned throughout the program and what they will take away from their month-long venture when they return to high school. Each student was also presented with an inspirational book and a certificate recognizing their efforts in completing the program.

The event also included presentations from UMKC representatives on various topics dealing with attending college, obtaining financial aid and multicultural resources at UMKC.

The Summer Scholars began in 1980 when former School of Medicine Assistant Dean for Minority Affairs Reaner Shannon, Ph.D., began an exploratory experience to encourage area high school students from underserved and minority backgrounds to consider health care fields. Nearly 5 percent of those who attend Summer Scholars go on to attend the UMKC School of Medicine, while a larger number will enter other health care fields, said program coordinator Kenneth Beene.

High school students get close-up look at medicine


Just before 9 a.m., a fourth-floor conference room at Truman Medical Center is coming to life. Medical students, residents and nurses are gathering with Carol Stanford, M.D. ’79, a docent physician at the UMKC School of Medicine, and this morning’s attending physician. Joining the group are two high school students, Stephanie Echevery and Fiori Habtemichael.

This is the 35th year of the School of Medicine’s Summer Scholars enrichment program that offers minority and economically disadvantaged students, primarily high school juniors and seniors, a three-week primer in health-care career opportunities. Students who attend Summer Scholars can return the following summer for the advanced program that offers additional exposure to clinical experiences and interactions with health care professionals

Echevery and Habtemichael, two Advanced Summer Scholars, watch and listen as the group goes around the table for the next 40 minutes giving status reports and recommendations for the hospital patients they’re about to see.

“Understanding what they’re saying and what they’re talking about can be kind of hard, but after a while it starts to click,” said Habtemichael, a Winnetonka High School student. She is one of this year’s 12 Advanced Summer Scholars. “It’s kind of cool to be in the conference room with them and hear what they’re doing with the patients, whether they’re going to keep them (in the hospital) or discharge them.”

The students will shadow the unit throughout its morning rounds. Even though they’re still in high school, the students say they’re treated just like another member of the docent team.

After Stanford and the team completed a visit with a particular patient, a medical student took Echevery and Habetmichael aside and briefly explained the patient’s condition and the conversation that had just taken place between doctor and patient.

“Sometimes they go over our heads, but they do a good job of answering our questions,” said Echevery, who attends Raytown South High School. “It’s our first real experience and with all of the medical terms, it’s like a foreign language. But after a while, they’ll stop and ask us if we have any questions.”

Morning rounds with the docent units are just one of the hospital activities the second-year Summer Scholars experience. Just a week earlier, the students were in the Birthplace, Truman’s labor and delivery area. They’ll also experience the hospital’s surgical services among others.

Each Advanced Summer Scholar will also take part in a research project. This year, the class split into three groups to produce papers that explored coronary artery disease, child vaccinations and psychological tendencies.

Many of the students say they’re in the advanced program because they’ve already decided they want to go into some type of health care profession and help others in the future. A second year in Summer Scholars is giving them a better opportunity to do just that, they say.

“Last year, I began with an interest in wanting to become something in the medical field but I didn’t really have a good idea of what I want to be,” said Tina Ngo, a Lee’s Summit High School student. Ngo said the advanced program would help her decide on a career and where she wants to go to college in the future.

For those who are already leaning toward medical school, the opportunity to shadow doctors and medical students in the clinic and hospital settings is huge, said Echevery.

“This is going to be really good for me. (Being a doctor) is what I want to do,” Echevery said. “Being able to walk the hallways with the attending and the residents, it’s like a glimpse into the future. I really like that.”

2016 Advanced Summer Scholars (and their high schools)
Brittani Arnold — Raytown
Gelilla Daniel — Park Hill
Symphony Davis — Blue Springs
Stephanie Echevery — Raytown South
Adam Habib — Immaculata
Fiori Habtemichael — Winnetonaka
McKindrea Hudson — Bishop Ward
Chuma Humphrey — Oak Park
Emmanuel Madu — Raytown South
Tina Ngo — Lee’s Summit
Angelica Perez — Bishop Miege
Hieu-Antonio Phan — Shawnee Mission South

Summer Scholars Program kicks off 34th year at School of Medicine

High school students in the 2013 UMKC School of Medicine Summer Scholars Program take part in an experience in a cadaver lab.
High school students in the 2013 UMKC School of Medicine Summer Scholars Program take part in an experience in a cadaver lab.

For more than three decades, the UMKC School of Medicine has been giving high school students a taste of life as a medical student and beyond through its Summer Scholars Program.

The program kicks off its 34th year on Friday, July 11, with an orientation session for a class of 50 minority and economically disadvantaged high school juniors and seniors from the Kansas City metropolitan area and from Tennessee, Oklahoma and Illinois. Students will participate in a three-week program that includes didactic teaching sessions and clinical rotations at Truman Medical Center Hospital Hill, Children’s Mercy Hospital and the Kansas City, Mo., Health Department as well as the School of Medicine.

Summer Scholars provides help in developing study, interpersonal and communication and interview skills that prepare students for successful careers in health care. To that end, 5 to 6 percent of those who participate in the Summer Scholars Program each year go on to be selected for entrance into the School of Medicine’s combined B.A./M.D. program, said program coordinator Kenneth Beene. A larger number of Summer Scholars go on to enter other health care fields elsewhere.

This year’s class includes 40 students in the regular Summer Scholars Program and 10 who are returning for a second-year in the Advanced Summer Scholars Program.

Students get daily instruction in anatomy/physiology, chemistry and language arts as well as other classroom experiences in areas such as ACT and standardized test taking, verbal reasoning, interviewing skills, medical terminology and understanding health disparities. Clinical rotations are provided in areas such as emergency services, intensive care services, outpatient services, rehabilitation services and experience in a cadaver lab.

This year, for the first time, Beene said, the Advanced Summer Scholars will also include a rotation in oral surgery and a research-writing course.

Summer Scholars was started in 1980 by Reaner Shannon, Ph.D., former School of Medicine assistant dean of minority affairs, as an exploratory experience for high school students to encourage those from underserved and minority backgrounds to consider health care fields.

The goal hasn’t changed and Beene said the program continues to work, generating interest and preparing high school students for rewarding futures in the health care professions.