A Healthier Wisconsin

Investigating the Feasibility of a Health Equity Aligned Early Medical School Admissions Program

Advancing the development of a diverse health workforce by exploring a health equity approach aligned early medical school admissions program

Full Project Name:Investigating the Feasibility of a Health Equity Aligned Early Medical School Admissions ProgramPrincipal Investigator:Malika Siker, MD, Radiation OncologyCo-Investigator:Jane Machi, MD, PediatricsAward Amount:$50,000
Award Date
Project Duration:12 months

Project Description Narrative:

The Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) serves southeastern, central, and northeastern Wisconsin communities, which are home to most of the state’s citizens from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 39% of Milwaukee’s population identifies as Black or African American, and 19% identifies as Hispanic or Latino. Furthermore, Milwaukee has been recognized as having the highest racial segregation in the U.S. The impact of this segregation and historical exclusionary policies has led to significant inequities in health outcomes in Wisconsin, including cancer, infant mortality, and more.

Many strategies have been recommended to improve health equity, including addressing the social determinants of health, expanding healthcare access, and public health policy change. However, increasing the diversity of the physician workforce to better reflect the demographics of a region is an important approach. Studies suggest that physician-patient racial concordance improves patient satisfaction, trust, and compliance and significantly improves clinical outcomes, including mortality. Additionally, physicians from underrepresented backgrounds are more likely to care for underserved populations. Ensuring that the health science workforce reflects the diverse communities of Wisconsin is a critical strategy to eliminate health inequities.

Beyond current MCW initiatives aimed at recruiting and retaining students from underrepresented in medicine (URiM) backgrounds, this project will investigate the feasibility of an early medical school acceptance program (EMSAP) that would allow for conditional acceptance to medical school for highly qualified individuals who seek to dedicate their careers to health equity, complete an enriched academic preparation and professional support curriculum as well as demonstrate academic competency in their undergraduate coursework.

Developing a health equity-aligned EMSAP is a potential strategy to recruit, support, and retain highly qualified local students interested in a career in medicine focused on health equity to come to MCW and ultimately stay in Wisconsin.

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8701 W Watertown Plank Road,
Milwaukee, WI 53226-0509
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