Campus News

SUNY launches initiative to help EOP students get into SUNY medical schools

UB President Satish K. Tripathi on a monitor with the presidents of two other SUNY medical schools at an announcement of the new SUNY Pre-OP program at Upstate Medical univeristy.

President Satish K. Tripathi (monitor, top left) Zooms into a press conference at Upstate Medical University announcing the new Pre-OP program. Seated is Chancellor Jim Malatras; at the podium is Mantosh Dewan, president of Upstate Medical University. Photo: SUNY


Published February 23, 2021

“The SUNY All Pre-Med Opportunity Program is consistent with our values to ensure all students with the academic background and desire have the opportunity to pursue their dream of graduate medical education. ”
President Satish K. Tripathi

SUNY has launched a new, statewide initiative designed to help more Educational Opportunity Program students be admitted into SUNY medical schools.

The Pre-Med Opportunity Program (Pre-OP), announced Thursday by Chancellor Jim Malatras, will provide academic support, mentorship, clinical exposure, assistance with MCAT preparation, academic coaching and workshops to EOP sophomores and juniors on a pre-medical track. Candidates must have a grade point average of 3.2 or higher, and have successfully completed two semesters of general chemistry and two semesters of biology.

The program is set to begin this summer with 25 students, and would be expanded based on initial results and further funding. It builds on the success of the longtime EOP — which helps New York State’s disadvantaged students from underserved communities gain access and succeed in undergraduate programs —as well as the successful medical pathway programs at UB and the other SUNY medical schools at Downstate Health Sciences University, Stony Brook University and Upstate Medical University.

SUNY administrators say Pre-OP will help address the persistent income disparities currently found among the nation’s medical schools, where about two-thirds of students come from families with annual incomes ranging from $74,870 to $225,251.

“The Educational Opportunity Program was groundbreaking in 1967 in acknowledging that too many promising students from New York’s disadvantaged communities didn’t attempt go to college because they didn’t believe they could succeed, and now over 50 years of resources and dedicated support by New York State has helped 76,000 students do just that,” Malatras said. “History has shown us that well-qualified students from underserved communities often don’t have the same opportunities to attend the nation’s medical programs and we can change that in New York State.

“SUNY’s new Pre-Op program will take our EOP program to the next level by empowering well-qualified students to enter and successfully complete medical school regardless of their economic means or background.”

UB President Satish K. Tripathi, who attended the announcement at Upstate Medical University via Zoom, said UB is excited to participate in the program. “At the University at Buffalo, we are committed to providing our EOP students with the necessary support to realize their personal and professional aspirations,” Tripathi said. “The SUNY All Pre-Med Opportunity Program is consistent with our values to ensure all students with the academic background and desire have the opportunity to pursue their dream of graduate medical education.”

Malatras will convene a group representing system administration and the SUNY medical schools to lead the design of the program to ensure compliance with the Liaison Committee on Medical Education accrediting body and to help select the students for Pre-Op.

The program will include academic and psychosocial supports to help students successfully pursue careers in medicine, among them:

  • Supplemental tutoring for gateway classes, such as organic chemistry, physics, biochemistry, and calculus.
  • Clinical and laboratory experience.
  • Exposure to medical school environment and curriculum.
  • Workshop and seminar series on such topics as health disparities, public health and policy.
  • Virtual MCAT preparation workshops and study groups.
  • Summer enrichment program.
  • Research experience.
  • Internships.
  • A Summer Bridge Program before the first year of medical school.
  • Academic and socioemotional supports for students once they are enrolled in medical school.

The program also will provide:

  • Mentorship for students by identifying and pairing them with EOP alumni, SUNY medical faculty, medical professionals or current SUNY medical students.
  • Special admission consideration at the SUNY medical schools for successful pre-medical scholars.
  • A system-wide EOP community of pre-medical scholars who will serve as a source of camaraderie and support for each other.
  • Virtual test prep workshops and panel discussions related to medical school admissions.
  • A clearinghouse of clinical and research experiences.
  • Institutional partnerships.