State University of New York Chancellor Jim Malatras has announced the first ever statewide initiative to help more Educational Opportunity Program students get into SUNY’s medical universities.
Under the SUNY for All initiative, the Pre-Med Opportunity Program (Pre-OP) will help address persistent income disparities found among the nation’s medical schools, with about two-thirds of students coming from families within the top two quintiles of family income ($74,870 to $225,251).
Building from SUNY’s longstanding and important Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) — which serves New York State’s disadvantaged students from underserved communities gain access and succeed in undergraduate programs — as well as the successful medical pathway programs at SUNY’s University at Buffalo, Downstate Health Sciences University, Stony Brook University and Upstate Medical, the SUNY for All Pre-OP will provide academic support, mentorship, clinical exposure, assistance with MCAT preparation, academic coaching and workshops.
The SUNY Pre-Op is set to begin in Summer 2021 with 25 students, which would be expanded based on initial results and further funding. To be considered for the program, candidates must be a SUNY EOP sophomore or junior on a pre-medical track, have a grade point average of 3.2 or higher, and have successfully completed two semesters of general chemistry and two semesters of biology.
“The Educational Opportunity Program was groundbreaking in 1967 in acknowledging that too many promising students from New York’s disadvantaged communities didn’t attempt go to college because they didn’t believe they could succeed, and now over 50 years of resources and dedicated support by New York State has helped 76,000 students do just that,” said Chancellor Malatras. “History has shown us that well-qualified students from underserved communities often don’t have the same opportunities to attend the nation’s medical programs and we can change that in New York State. SUNY’s new Pre-Op program will take our EOP program to the next level by empowering well-qualified students to enter and successfully complete medical school regardless of their economic means or background.”
“We couldn’t be more pleased to support and participate in this groundbreaking program,” said Stony Brook University President Maurie McInnis. “It matches our mission of ensuring equitable access to quality education for all students and offering world-class healthcare to our local communities, including those that have been historically underserved. Expanding EOP support and resources for those pursuing medical school will be a huge step toward equity in student success. Stony Brook University has a decades-long dedication to providing EOP opportunities, and we are excited to now help medical students explore different pathways to research innovation and clinical experience.”
EOP at Stony Brook was started in 1968 and given the local name of AIM, which is an acronym for Advancement on Individual Merit. Its primary mission is to facilitate the recruitment, enrollment, retention and graduation of these underserved students. EOP/AIM provides students with an array of educationally related support services.
“This is an exciting time for EOP and Stony Brook University,” said Pamela Matzner, director of EOP/AIM at Stony Brook. “EOP students possess great potential to reach the highest of degrees. However, due to systemic barriers historically this has been an obstacle. The Pre-Med Opportunity Program ensures we are increasing access and opportunity for New York State students who show the potential to succeed in medical school. These highly motivated students will be prepared to pursue a medical school degree and in return their contributions as professionals will benefit their communities and New York State as a whole. We are excited and hopeful for what this means for our hard-working and inspirational student body.”
Chancellor Malatras will convene a group made up of System Administration and the SUNY Medical School to lead in designing the program to ensure compliance with the Liaison Committee on Medical Education accrediting body and to help select the students for Pre-Op. A final plan for the SUNY for All Pre-Medical Opportunity Program will be provided by June 2021 before the first Summer 2021 class.