StEP-UP Programs for Underrepresented Professions in Medicine

Establishing a pipeline program for underrepresented students in medical education

Full Project Name:StEP-UP: Student Enrichment Programs for Underrepresented Professions in MedicinePrinciple Investigator:Jose Franco, MD, Kern Institute for Transformation of Medical EducationCo-Investigator:William J. Hueston, MD, Family and Community Medicine; Ravi Misra, PhD, BiochemistryAward Amount:$925,915
Award Date
July2015
Project Duration:60 months

Project Description Narrative:


Only 15 students of African-American, Native American, Hispanic or Native Hawaiian descent from Wisconsin matriculated to a medical school last year. And while MCW has enrolled approximately 30 students considered to be underrepresented in medicine in each of the last three classes, a group that constitutes about 15% of each class, many of these students leave Wisconsin for residencies closer to home.

The need for physicians that can provide culturally competent care and practice effectively within rural and urban areas that have had less access to health care services is essential. To enhance cultural competence and address health disparities, MCW has worked to expand diversity among medical students, residents and faculty members. This project proposed to enhance these efforts through in-state community partnerships with educational institutions throughout the instructional spectrum in order to nurture underrepresented students to better prepare them for success in the field of medicine.

Through collaborative enrichment activities, this community-engaged pipeline program will enhance science education and increase interest in medical careers. Undergraduate students will also have the option of being match with a professional mentor in addition to support in preparing for the MCAT entrance examination.

Project Updates:


• Cultivated partnerships with more than 20 partners, including schools and community centers, including the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, University of Wisconsin-Parkside, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, Marquette University and Ripon College.

• Held two open houses with middle schools and two open houses for college students to encourage interest in science, health and medicine

• Supported the MCW Kaleidoscope film and discussion series, hosting 15 sessions over the last 12 months, covering topics ranging from recognizing signs of depression, wellness, and valuing diverse perspectives

• Engaged current MCW students, supporting formation of an official student organization related to this work with more than 50 medical students participating

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