Aggie Doctor Initiative
About the program
In 2014, the TAMHSC COM Office of Diversity received the THECB Minority Health Research and Education Grant for Recruitment and Retention. This grant has funded the Aggie Doctor Initiative (ADI), which works to combat the scholastic and social struggles that students face when undertaking new academic challenges. These struggles come with getting acclimated to a new institution, the rigor of the curriculum, perceived lack of institutional support, unclear expectations of the student, and lack of community among peers. These problems can manifest themselves as anxiety and depression, and lead to academic failure.
For racially underrepresented students (African American and Hispanic/Latino) these effects are often magnified as issues related to being traditionally underrepresented (discrimination, lack of confidence), creating additional barriers to success. To address these issues, the ADI works to create strong community among students, provide nurturing mentorship, and strengthen the academic abilities of underrepresented students.
This program seeks to reach students at three critical stages in the development of successful pre-med and medical students:
- The first semester, freshmen year of college
- Navigating the application/interview process for medical school
- Succeeding in the first year of medical school
Enhancing the academic and social success of students in these stages builds capacity for increasing the number of underrepresented medical doctors in Texas, ultimately responding to critical demand in the state.
The Aggie Doctor Initiative is broken into three interdependent tracks:
In FOCUS Scholars, we engage underrepresented, low-income, first-generation college students who are Regent’s Scholars at Texas A&M. For those students interested in medicine, the transition to college, coupled with the pre-med curriculum creates an insurmountable barrier that pushes many students from a science career and in some cases even threatens the ability to remain at TAMU.
Our program provides strong mentor support from current medical students, as well as a class that teaches enhanced academic skills and provides access to targeted tutoring and supplemental instruction.
In Pre-Med Fellows, we engage underrepresented pre-med sophomore and junior students at Texas A&M, with a higher priority for transfer students from community colleges. Students selected for this program are exposed to medical student mentors and take a class that is structured to prepare students to be competitive medical school applicants by providing access to shadowing, MCAT preparation, application preparation, mock interviews, among other experiences.
Students who successfully complete the program receive automatic admission to the Texas A&M College of Medicine.
MedCamp is a three-week pre-matriculation program that targets incoming, first year, underrepresented medical students. MedCamp has a strong mentorship and community-building component whereby medical school faculty and staff, and second, third, and fourth year medical students are trained as mentors for the MedCamp participants. These participants engage in academic lectures, exams, clinical skills training, and learn strategies for academic success to prepare them for the rigor of the curriculum and the expectations of medical students. Additionally, there are also numerous social activities. Students are provided with room and board for the duration of MedCamp. MedCamp was originally part of the ADI grant, but is now funded by the College of Medicine.