Baylor Undergrads Spending Summer at Houston's Baylor College of Medicine

July 20, 2006

HOUSTON - Five Baylor University undergraduate students are spending this summer studying at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM), Texas Children's Hospital and Rice University.

The students selected from Baylor are Nathan Bernal, a junior forensic science major from San Antonio; Tiffany Hsu, a senior biology and psychology major from Plano; Briana Meredith, a freshman biochemistry major from Houston; Claudia Orozco, a sophomore biology major from Houston; and Rickesha Wilson, a junior biology major from Fort Worth.

They are among 65 undergraduate students representing 24 universities from across the country who will participate in the study program this summer.

"The Honors Premedical Academy (HPA), funded by the three institutions, was designed to increase the number of physicians from groups that have been historically underrepresented in medicine," according to a news release from the BCM.

The students will participate in academic and clinical activities, including anatomy and physiology taught by BCM faculty, medical communications taught by Rice faculty and clinical preceptorships with BCM faculty members. Many of the students also will be observing clinical activities at Texas Children's Hospital.

Students will also attend seminars on medical ethics and hear speakers from various medical specialties. Participants are mentored by BCM medical students and receive advice on medical school admissions from faculty and administrators.

"The students get a preview of what going through medical school would be like," says Pamela Ferry, HPA director. "The coursework is rigorous, and the schedule is demanding, but the overall experience is exciting and provides continuous motivation and encouragement to become a doctor."

Since the HPA began in 1989, a total of 1,987 students have participated in the program. More than 73 percent of former HPA students who have applied to medical school have been accepted.

Students are housed at Rice University. Breakfast and lunch are provided at Texas Children's Hospital by a gift from the hospital.

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