The authors describe an innovative summer enrichment program based on a cascading mentorship model to transfer knowledge and skills from faculty to medical students to undergraduate students and finally to high school students. The program was designed to give high school students a glimpse of life in medical school and enhance the teaching and leadership skills of underrepresented undergraduate and medical students. Started in 2010 with 30 high school students and 9 college and medical student coaches, the University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine Summer Premed Program expanded rapidly over the next two summers and enrolled a total of 253 high school students, 48 college students, and 12 medical students. The college and medical student coaches, the majority of whom were underrepresented in medicine (URIM), reported that the program enhanced their teaching and leadership skills and self-confidence, motivated them toward careers in academic medicine, and raised their awareness about the importance of cultural diversity. The authors present the details of this interactive, structured program and describe how URIM student empowerment, near-peer teaching, science socialization, and support from the institution’s leadership and faculty members provided a climate that fostered belonging, a sense of personal transformation, and professional development among students from different levels of education and diverse backgrounds. Long-term follow-up of the participants’ career choices is needed.
Dr. Afghani is director, Summer Premed Program and Center for Future Health Professionals, UC Irvine Hospitalist Program, and clinical professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of California Irvine School of Medicine, Irvine, California, and CHOC Children’s Specialty Hospitalist, Children’s Hospital of Orange County, Orange, California.
Ms. Santos is strategic planning analyst, UC Irvine Medical Center, Irvine, California. She was formerly summer premed program coordinator and senior clinical research coordinator, Department of Urology, University of California Irvine School of Medicine, Irvine, California.
Dr. Angulo is a third-year resident, Department of Family Medicine, University of California Irvine School of Medicine, and an active leader, Latino Medical Student Association, Irvine, California.
Mr. Muratori is a member, Department of Urology Leadership Council, University of California Irvine School of Medicine, Irvine, California.
Correspondence should be addressed to Dr. Afghani, UC Irvine Hospitalist Program, UC Irvine Medical Center, 101 The City Dr., Bldg. 26, Orange, CA 92868; e-mail: email@example.com.
Funding/Support: A part of summer session 2011 was supported by a mini-grant provided by the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, Award No. 10-2019.
Other disclosures: None.
Ethical approval: The study was approved by the institutional review board at University of California, Irvine.
Previous Presentations: Parts of this study were presented at the Association of American Medical Colleges Annual Meeting, Denver, Colorado, 2011.