All students who meet the Summer Health Professions Education Program eligibility requirements are encouraged to apply. Applicants must meet the following requirements:
- Must be a high school graduate and currently enrolled as a freshman or sophomore in college.
- Have a minimum overall college GPA of 2.5.
- Be a U.S. citizen, a permanent resident, or an individual granted deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) status by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
- Must not have previously participated in the program.
Other factors for consideration include that a student:
- Identifies with a group that is racially/ethnically underrepresented in the health professions;
- Comes from an economically or educationally disadvantaged background; and/or
- Has demonstrated an interest in issues affecting underserved populations.
- Submits a compelling personal statement and a strong letter of recommendation.
Submit Application Materials
Applications will only be reviewed by designated program sites once the National Program Office processes the following materials in accordance with the admissions guidelines:
- The online SHPEP application, which includes one essay prompt (Personal Statement Guidelines). An AAMC account is required to access the application. Register for an AAMC account if you do not already have one.
- One official transcript from every U.S., U.S. Territorial, or Canadian post-secondary institution attended sent directly by the institution’s registrar’s office. Please review the Transcript Requirements section for more information.
- One letter of recommendation from a qualified reference. Please review the Recommendation Requirements section for more information.
You can use the optional Application Checklist to ensure that you have completed all of the required steps to apply to SHPEP.
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SMDEP Diversity Essay - With A Free Essay Review
PROMPT: SMDEP seeks individuals who are interested in the advancement goals of diversity in the medical or dental profession. Please share your experiences or interest in one or all of these areas.
As I sat in my first period Calculus class one day, I looked around and realized that I was different from the rest of my classmates. As one of less than a dozen black females in my high school, it was not as if this was the first time I noticed this. But this time was different because I realized that race was not the only thing that differed between my classmates and me. I had something that my peers severely lacked. I had cultural competence. Raised in both a poor urban environment and a middle class suburban environment, I understood how to relate to people of different cultures and I appreciated diversity rather than ignore it like they did.
I went to high school in a predominantly white suburban community and most of the students who attended my high school do not understand how important diversity is. They live in their own bubbles and are never forced to learn about or accept people who are different from them. Living in such a sheltered environment puts them at a supreme disadvantage because in todays multicultural society you come in contact with all kinds of people and students need the skills to relate to each other positively, regardless of cultural differences. That is why I made it my mission to help prepare my classmates for the real world, a world that is filled with rich cultures and people from all ends of the color spectrum.
To incorporate diversity education into my high school, I helped create C.H.A.N.G.E., or Creating Harmony Among New Generations Everywhere. I co-founded the club my freshman year with the hope of promoting dialogue about diversity and acceptance within my high school. As a C.H.A.N.G.E peer educator I helped execute the Flash Judgments Program, a program featuring diverse youth that enabled my peers to examine how they make judgments to appreciate, tolerate or avoid others. This program explored how people make biased and prejudiced judgments about others and how these judgments lead to conflict and misunderstanding. The program encouraged appreciation and acceptance of differences. I went into multiple class rooms and challenged my peers to engage in courageous conversations and identify their hidden biases.
After the inception of C.H.A.N.G.E, I watched my peers build relationships that transcended the barriers of traditional high school cliques. I attribute my success with the C.H.A.N.G.E. Club to my passion for spreading diversity awareness and my own personal connection with diversity issues. As one of the few people of color in my high school, I have had my own personal struggles dealing with instances of intolerance and ignorance. I think sharing my personal story made the message hit home for the students I talked to because they see the person behind the message. They realized that I was not saying empty words, the diversity issues I discussed really meant something to me.
I want to use my passion for diversity education as a means to continue to grow as a leader. My goal is to develop a deep comprehension of the factors that shape human behavioral development and use that understanding to treat and counsel a diverse group of underserved patients when I become a medical professional. I believe that being culturally knowledgeable and competent is the key to eliminating racial and ethnic disparities in health care. In the medical field, you must be able to relate to and understand all kinds of people and I believe that my diverse upbringing and passion for cultivating cultural competence will allow me to do that.
In my opinion, a lack a cultural competence has hindered the progress of American healthcare towards fixing the health disparities among minority populations. Many minority patients do not trust their doctors who are, more often than not, white. I have witnessed this mistrust firsthand. My grandparents have subtly mentioned over the years that they do not always feel like their doctors have their best interest in mind. They feel as if their white doctors are more interested in co-pays than they are in providing quality care. My grandparents were raised in Jim Crow era Mississippi, a time when Blacks faced intense racial discrimination in healthcare and continued to be unknowingly used in medical experiments. Their memories of the many whites who despised and exploited Blacks could explain why it is hard for them to form trusting relationships with their white doctors.
Although blatant forms of racial discrimination in health care have been eradicated, bias and stereotyping by health care professionals continue to adversely affect the delivery of healthcare to minority patients. There is a disconnect between minority patients and their doctors because these patients often feel judged or misunderstood by their doctors.
Implementing a mandatory cultural competency curriculum in all medical schools would help eliminate bias and stereotyping by doctors by sensitizing them to the needs of racial and ethnic groups. Initiatives that bring doctors into the heart of the minority communities are also necessary to build trust between doctors and minority patients. Doctors and health professionals should go to community centers, barber shops, beauty salons or other familiar, comfortable environments and offer health screenings and information about preventative health care. If doctors reach out by going to the people they can become more trusting by showing minority patients in underserved communities that they care and understand where they are coming from.
It's probably not a good idea to come as close as you do to insulting your high school peers, such as when you claim that they "severely lack cultural competence." Of course, you need to insult them a little bit, because you go on to talk about you solved the problem of their ignorance. You just need to find a slightly less abrasive or less negative way of talking about the issue. One could for instance talk about the ignorance of people in general rather than the ignorance of your fellow students. It's always nicer to insult everyone than to insult specific people. It's nicer to say everyone cheats and lies their way through life, for instance, than to say Bob cheats and lies his way through life. So instead of saying, for instance, that your school mates live in bubbles of ignorance, you could say that lots of folk live in those bubbles, and so you tried to a pop a few. If you put it that way, then you don't have to specifically claim that you have that esoteric quality called cultural competence; you can just explain what you've done and why, and let your reader deduce your cultural competency credentials. Essays like this are a lot more compelling if you can avoid plainly stating what's wonderful about you and instead force your reader, by the power of the stories you tell, to concede your many charms and attributes.
Submitted by: Alexis1015