The Combined BA/MD Degree Program addresses the physician shortage in New Mexico by admitting a class of diverse students committed to becoming doctors and practice medicine in underserved communities across New Mexico. Each year 28 diverse students from New Mexico and the Navajo Nation are admitted as freshmen into the program through a holistic review process, with a conditional place reserved for them at the UNM School of Medicine. Students are provided with: full-cost scholarships for the first four years at UNM, academic advisement (with low student to advisor ratios) with program-specific counselors that are tenure-track faculty hires with joint-appointments to the program. They receive cohort-only math and science courses in state-of-the-art active learning classrooms, a summer Foundations in Science course required of incoming BA/MD freshmen with an ACT score of 25 or less; low class size for BA/MD students in core; program-dedicated pre-med classes; and a Summer Practicum (service learning) requirement between students’ second and third years, where they live and work in a rural community, shadow local physicians and work on a community engagement project with local health organizations. Additionally, a specialized curriculum entitled Health, Medicine, and Human Values was also developed to educate students on the healthcare needs of New Mexico and the social aspects of medicine. Faculty also attend workshops focused upon the specific needs of BA/MD students.
The BA/MD Program’s mission is to addresses NM’s physician shortage, particularly in rural areas. BA/MD advisors navigate students through their degree programs, and help them transition from home to University, high school graduate to adult, small town to major city, undergraduate to medical student, and beyond.
The UNM BA/MD Program produces a diverse group of physicians for New Mexico.
· The program has been successful in recruiting underrepresented students; 44% of students have been Hispanics.
· Forty-one students from their first three cohorts have graduated from medical school. Of these: 30% were Hispanic.
· Twenty-six graduates are now completing post-medical school graduate training in New Mexico, and upon completion the majority of the BA/MD physicians will return to the state to practice.