JONESBORO, AR – New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University (NYITCOM) recently received two grants from the Keys Foundation totaling $50,000, both of which will be used to help the medical school mentor high school and undergraduate students and help them prepare for careers in science and/or medically-related fields.
One of the grants will fund the newly-established “PrepAR” program, which focuses on preparing a pipeline of Arkansas State students towards Medical School.” The grant will be used to recruit, prepare and equip A-State students from STEM disciplines interested in applying to medical school. The goal of this pilot project is to enable students to achieve a successful entry into the medical field. The program will include a Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) preparation course and connect candidates with mentorship opportunities.
“The process of applying to medical school and securing admission is a tedious one that can be expensive,” said Brent Owens, EdD., NYITCOM associate director of pipeline programs. “We’re excited to offer this program that will help make these students stronger candidates for medical school, and we’re grateful to the Kays Foundation for funding such an instrumental endeavor.”
The other grant will fund NYITCOM at A-State’s “Summer Health Academy for Research Exploration” (SHARE) program. The grant will provide ten stipends to high school students to experience eight weeks of intense laboratory exposure along with professional and career development activities to navigate them towards a Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and Medicine (STEMM) field or professional degree. The SHARE program will bring prospective students to campus and serve as a recruitment initiative for the medical school.
The stipends will allow the students to focus on research projects and receive mentorship at a time when many young people divert their attention from scholastic endeavors to a part-time job.
“Students often miss out on valuable educational opportunities like this because they have to work,” said Rajendram Rajnarayanan, NYITCOM at A-State assistant dean of research. “The Kays Foundation is investing in these students to give them this unique opportunity, and we can’t thank them enough for doing so.”
The SHARE program launched in 2019, and plans are underway to alter the format to allow much of the curriculum to be delivered virtually in light of the ongoing global health crisis. Students who participated in the 2019 program remain connected with NYITCOM at A-State as many continue to work with their mentors and receive guidance as they participate in science fairs and competition.
“We’re continuing to engage with our first class, and we’re looking forward to building relationships with another group of students to guide and encourage them,” Rajnarayanan said. “It’s an ongoing program that is mutually beneficially to NYITCOM and the students.”
The Kays Foundation is a private, nonprofit foundation supporting A-State by providing grants to support faculty, staff, departments, colleges, or other entities in order to further the teaching, research, and service goals of Arkansas State University.
About NYITCOM at Arkansas State University:
New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University, located on A-State’s Jonesboro campus, is dedicated to improving access to health care for the underserved and rural populations in Arkansas and the Mississippi Delta Region. Arkansas ranks 48th in overall population health status due to low health indicators including obesity and number of adults who smoke. The state also ranks 46th in the number of active physicians per capita and 39th in the number of primary care physicians. NYITCOM at A-State was established in 2016 with the mission of meeting the need for more physicians in this medically underserved area.