Author(s): Thurmond VB, Cregler LL
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Abstract PURPOSE: To track gifted underrepresented minority (URM) students who entered the pipeline to health professional school when they were in high school and to determine whether and why students left the pipeline to enter other professions. METHOD: A questionnaire was mailed to 162 students who had participated in the Student Educational Enrichment Program (SEEP) in health sciences at the Medical College of Georgia between 1984 and 1991; 123 (75\%) responded. RESULTS: Students in the study population had higher graduation rates than the average state or national student. Fifty-nine (48\%) of the students had entered health care careers; 98\% had stated that intention when they were in high school. Although some of the students stated trouble with course work and GPA as reasons for their decisions to change career tracks, many students said that their interests in non-medical careers had been fostered by mentors or by opportunities to serve internships. CONCLUSION: Early intervention is important to retaining students in a pipeline that leads to a health care career. Summer programs are successful, but may not be enough to help students with difficult science courses in college, especially chemistry. However, another important conclusion is that much more needs to be done to help students find mentors with whom they can develop relationships and to give them opportunities to work in health care settings.
This article was published in Acad Med
and referenced in Journal of Health Education Research & Development