The students are part of the Early Medical School Acceptance Program, a partnership between UTMB-Galveston and UTPA created to increase the number of physicians practicing in the medically underserved region of South Texas. The program is designed to provide a rigorous undergraduate educational experience to assure that the students receive the academic preparation needed to pursue a medical education.
"We’re ecstatic about this new program, which will allow the Rio Grande Valley to effectively grow their own doctors," said Dr. Scott Gunn, associate professor of biology and health professions adviser at UTPA.
"We have an outstanding group of students," he said. "These are the type of students who normally leave the Valley to pursue their educations at top schools around the state. This program allows us to be competitive for these outstanding students and maintain them here in the Valley."
The five students accepted into the program who will be juniors at UTPA in fall 1999 are Mohammed O. Ahmed, Zerremi D. Caga-anan and Mirna X. Escalante, all of McAllen, Patricia Cano of Pharr and Erica M. Ruiz of Edinburg.
Five other students are expected to enroll at UTPA as entering freshmen this fall. They are Claudia J. Bernal of Edinburg, Adrianna Garcia of Laredo, Jessica A. Moran and Nanette R. Ortiz, both of Mission, and Juan P. Recinos of San Juan.
The two groups of students will attend a summer program at UTMB-Galveston and will be paid a stipend of $40 per day — roughly $4,000 per student, including travel — while in Galveston.
Upon acceptance to EMSAP, students receive conditional acceptance to UTMB-Galveston. To enroll at the medical school, students must complete all EMSAP requirements, including maintaining a minimum undergraduate grade point average of 3.2, a minimum science GPA of 3.0 and a score of at least 24 on the Medical College Admission Test.