Hispanic Center of Excellence

University of Illinois Chicago
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Program Focus


The mission of the Hispanic Center of Excellence is to improve the medical care of Latinos in Illinois by providing programs that strengthen the pipeline and increase the number of Latino applicants pursuing health careers. They aim to: develop a competitive applicant pool of Latinos for medical school admissions; enhance the academic performance and overall experience of Latino medical students; provide opportunities for faculty-student research on Latino health issues for undergraduate and medical students; design curricular initiatives to increase the linguistic and cultural competence of college of medicine students; provide faculty development activities to train, recruit and retain Latino faculty; and, raise funds to support scholarships for Latino medical students

Program Description

The Hispanic Center of Excellence (HCOE) was established in 1991 to address the severe shortage of Latinos in medicine. The Center aims to develop an educational pipeline from high school to medical school faculty. The Center is state-funded and had brought in additional federal and research grants for expanding and evaluating the programs. The HCOE sponsors pre-college programs such as the Medicina Academy Apprentice Program and the Latino Health Science Enrichment Program, and college-level programs such as the Latino Health Science Enrichment Program; the Medicina Scholars Program; and the Summer Undergraduate Research Program in Health Disparities. Additionally, they have programs for medical students: the Medicina Fellows Program; the Summer Medical Student Research Program; the Prep for USMLE Step 1; the Urban Medicine Program; and for junior medical faculty they offer the Faculty Development Fellowship. Finally, they sponsor the Academia de Padres Leadership Institute for parents whose children are interested in the health professions. To complement the structured programs, they provide advising and career counseling from high school through medical school.


Medical school outcomes:

  • In the Fall 2018, 38 new Latino medical students enrolled in the College of Medicine, or 12% of all first-year students.
  • In the Spring 2018, the COM graduated 54 Latino M.D.s comprising about 17% of all (301) graduates.
  • During academic year 2017-18, 36 medical students (MS) completed the Clinical Spanish elective course.
  • In Summer 2018, 100% of Latino second-year students passed the USMLE Step 1 on the first attempt (same as school %). Also that summer, 10 rising M2s completed the Summer Medical Research Program.
  • In Fall 2018, 20 Latino first-year medical students were awarded scholarships, or 52% of all scholarships awarded that year.

Undergraduate outcomes:

  • A total of 143 Latino college students participated in 2017-18.
  • In Summer 2018, 15 incoming UIC freshmen participated in the Latino Health Science Enrichment Program—Track 3; 8 students took part in the Summer Undergraduate Research Program on Health Disparities.
  • A total of 98 students were involved in Medicina Scholars during 2017-18, with 38 of them completing the 3-year program.
  • A total of 32 Medicina Scholars are currently in medical school
  • Of the total, 93% are first-generation college students.

Pre-College program outcomes:

  • 115 high school students were engaged in structured programs.
  • The fifth cohort of Medicina Academy participants (n = 30) completed high school this spring; 27 out of 30 were admitted to four-year universities.
  • Last spring 22 Latino parents completed the one-year Academia de Padres Leadership Institute.


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