The newly-funded UTMB Hispanic Center of Excellence completed its first undergraduate summer enrichment program, also known as the Medical Careers Diversity Program, on June 24 by honoring 50 college students from all over Texas who participated in the program.

The program, designed to develop a larger diverse pool of competitive applicants for medical careers, was funded by a $4.4 million, three-year grant from the Health Research Services Administration.
“You have an inherent power to heal and save lives, to provide hope, comfort and compassion,’’ Dr. Lauree Thomas, associate dean for Student Affairs and Admissions who was the principal investigator on the grant, told students during the closing ceremony.
The program consisted of five weeks of intensive MCAT review and preparation, and enrichment experiences such as physician shadowing and admissions workshops for promising Hispanic students interested in a career in medicine, said Norma Perez, M.D., Dr.P.H., director of the Hispanic Center of Excellence and Bilingual Health Track.
Faculty who mentored students also were honored, including Sarah Toombs-Smith, who was named Outstanding Professor by the students; Soham Al Snih; Christopher Allen; Herman Trivilino; Kristen Andres; and Ana Sanchez.
Nathan Borgfeld, a senior at University of Texas-Pan American in Edinburgh, Texas, said he was grateful for the exposure the program gave him to UTMB, the faculty and the medical students. Shadowing experiences and mock interviewing were helpful and “a huge benefit for me was the help I received on my personal statement, which is an integral part of getting into medical school,’’ Borgfeld said.
The Medical Careers Diversity Program partners with six undergraduate institutions to develop a large competitive applicant pool, contributing to UTMB’s national reputation for diversity and education of underrepresented minority and disadvantaged students.