School of Medicine plans summer academy for undergraduate students interested in medical school

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - The Robert C. Byrd Center for Rural Health, in conjunction with the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine (JCESOM), is offering a summer residential academy for undergraduate students who are interested in pursuing a career in medicine. 

The academy is scheduled for June 3-7 at Marshall University. 

“We are excited to launch this outreach program to college students,” said Jennifer Plymale, director of the Byrd Center for Rural Health and associate dean for admissions at the JCESOM. “Students will be participating in a variety of hands-on activities and offered instruction on Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) preparation and interviewing skills, in addition to traditional lectures.”

The academy is an extension of the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine’s pipeline program for high school students, which began in 2004. Through the pipeline program, which spans 14 counties and 31 schools, high school students are encouraged to consider medicine as a career.

The pipeline program seeks to remove barriers for young people who would like to attend medical school and possibly return to their home communities to practice.  The newly created summer academy is an exciting next step in expanding the pipeline program to the college level. 

Plymale said that estimates show by 2015 the physician shortage in the United States will have expanded to 63,000 and that pipeline programs like the summer academy are effective mechanisms to help students identify and eliminate barriers associated with pursuing medical school. 

“The Affordable Care Act extends health care to 30 million people and as such will require thousands more physicians,” she said.  “With pipeline programs like we have in place at the high school and college levels, Marshall is able to encourage more students to consider medicine as a career to meet the future demand.”

Plymale said the academy is free to students who are selected for the academy. To be eligible to apply, applicants must be West Virginia residents who are currently enrolled in a West Virginia  public or private accredited college or university.   Other requirements include:

  • Earned between 30 and 60 credit hours
  • Have a composite G.P.A. of  at least 3.00 for all courses
  • Scored a minimum of 22 on the ACT or SAT equivalent
  • Demonstrated serious interest in a medical career

The application process is open to all.  Women, minorities and those from groups that are underrepresented in medicine are especially encouraged to apply. 

Additional details and applications are available at

Deadline to apply is April 15.  

Date Posted: Tuesday, February 19, 2013