Health Career Opportunity Programs
A top priority for the Schools of Medicine and Dental Medicine has long been the recruitment and retention of students from diverse groups who are underrepresented in American
health care professions. The Health Career Opportunity Programs (HCOP) actively recruits minority medical and dental students and supports those who are enrolled throughout the academic year.
Applications from underrepresented students are reviewed by the Admissions Committee using the same criteria applied to all applications. Candidates for admission receive a
full review and are selected on a competitive basis. Underrepresented candidates invited for an interview meet with the HCOP associate dean and/or assistant dean, staff of the HCOP office, and
medical or dental students who answer questions in an informal setting. The associate dean and assistant dean for HCOP are members of the Admissions Committee. Students also act as hosts for
medical and dental school applicants.
Academic support is available in the form of career and academic counseling by the HCOP
associate dean and the Medical and Dental Student Affairs associate
deans. Upon request, time management and test-taking skills courses are
available to all incoming students. In addition, tutorial services and
board examination review courses are available.
Social support includes: a welcome reception for incoming freshmen with classmates, upper level students, residents, fellows, faculty, and community physicians and dentists;
luncheon meetings and seminars on health care topics throughout the academic year, including the annual Elbert A. Powell and Irma Cheek Powell Minority Enrichment Lecture Series; the Minority
Practitioners Mentoring Program with community physicians and dentists, including minority medical and dental alumni serving as mentors for enrolled medical and dental students; and support
for student representatives to attend annual meetings of professional associations, including the Student National Medical Association (SNMA), Student National Dental Association (SNDA), and
the Hispanic Student Dental Association (HSDA).
The SNMA and SNDA/HSDA also offer first-year students assistance with their new educational environment through a peer support network with second-year students and
communication of scholarly and socially newsworthy items of interest to enrolled medical and dental students through a department newsletter.
Through HCOP, the Schools of Medicine and Dental Medicine operate an extensive recruitment and outreach program to ensure a diverse applicant pool. Some of the methods used to interest qualified
applicants in our program includes: visits to area colleges and to historically
Black colleges and universities; representation at recruitment programs throughout the country that are attended by potential applicants from diverse groups; use of community resources; direct
mail; and summer enrichment programs. Our own students are actively encouraged to participate in the
The Department of Health Career Opportunity Programs sponsors the
following Aetna Health Professions Partnership Initiative (HPPI) summer
and academic year programs. This initiative was developed to promote
diversity in the health professions and is a formal educational
consortium offering a comprehensive program of educational enrichment
and support activities for underrepresented, disadvantaged and first
generation students applying to medical and dental schools, graduate
programs in biomedical sciences, nursing, pharmacy and allied health
Program elements form a continuous pipeline for middle/junior high
school, high school and college level students. The department supports
students of diverse backgrounds and has expanded its programs for
middle, high school and college students to realize their dreams of
becoming health professionals.
The Aetna HPPI programs have proven to be top-notch because many of
the program participants have successfully completed their undergraduate
degrees have actualized their goals of entering medical, dental and
graduate school. We continue to develop new programs and fine-tune
existing ones since exposure to the various fields in the biomedical
sciences will ultimately increase the diverse pool of students who
pursue careers in the health professions.
The Health Disparities Clinical Summer Research
Medical/Dental Preparatory Program, and the Summer Research Fellowship
Program also serve as pre-matriculation programs for interested students
accepted to the School of Medicine or Dental Medicine. Housing and a
stipend are provided.
The UConn Health Center’s Health Career Opportunity Programs is partially supported by the following funding sources:
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