What is a Health Science Center (HSC)?

A health science center is a large institution with a primary focus on health education and research. The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is home to a School of Medicine, Dental School, School of Nursing, School of Health Professions and Graduate School for Biomedical Sciences. The Med Ed Program is affiliated with and financially supported by the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio.

What is the Med Ed Program?

It is a year-round program designed for 8th graders, high school and college students with a serious interest in the health sciences.

Why does the Med Ed Program exist?

There is a dire need for more health science professionals in South Texas. Studies indicate that there are not enough South Texas students applying to graduate or professional degree programs.

What is the purpose of the Med Ed Program?

To increase the number of South Texas students in the pipeline for careers in Health Professions, Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing and Biomedical Research.

What are the leaks in the pipeline?

The pipeline goes from high school to college and on to the next level of higher education, which may be medical school, dental school, nursing programs, graduate school, etc. Sometimes, there are leaks along the way which cause students to stray from the path leading to their health profession of interest. These leaks include:

  • Poor critical or analytical thinking skills
  • Poor interviewing skills ∙ Poor reading comprehension skills
  • Poor writing skills
  • Poor study skills
  • Weak foundation in the sciences
  • Distractions; No focus
  • Low standardized test scores
  • Clueless about the health profession of interest
  • Inappropriate academic advisement
  • No commitment to the service of others
  • No hospital or clinical volunteer experience

The Med Ed Program offers opportunities that attempt to address these leaks.

Who can apply to the Med Ed Program?

Rio Grande Valley 8th graders, high school and college students with a serious interest in pursuing a career in the health sciences are encouraged to apply.

How are students selected?

Students must complete an application, write a brief essay and submit a copy of their most recent report card or transcript. Students are notified within one week of receiving the application.

Is there more than one Med Ed Program?

No. There is only one Med Ed Program with office location in  Harlingen, serving Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr, and Willacy counties.

How many students are in the Med Ed Program?

Enrollment fluctuates from year to year depending upon the applicant pool. Our focus is more on quality rather than quantity.

How do participants know what’s going on in Med Ed?

All participants are notified of Med Ed Program opportunities by mail, so it is very important that we always have the students’ correct and up-to-date contact information. A newsletter containing information about past as well as future activities and events is also mailed to every student’s home each month.

What kinds of opportunities are offered?

There are three main components that make up the foundation for our program: academic enrichment/professional development, mentoring, and community service/volunteer work. Creating and providing opportunities in these critical areas will serve to remedy the leaks in the pipeline so that students can more easily achieve their academic and career goals.

What records are kept on individual student participants?

An individual file is kept on each student participant. Included in the file is documentation of the student’s activities and of his/her involvement in the Med Ed Program including copies of correspondence, certificates, acknowledgement letters, etc.

Why is this information important to Med Ed?

Our staff often refers to the student’s file when writing letters of recommendation or to review the student’s activity records when determining participation status. Little to no participation can result in a student being designated as an “inactive” member.

What is “inactive” status?

Once a year, individual files are examined for evidence of participation. If a student has not been active, he or she will receive a letter from the program coordinator asking the student to reapply within a given amount of time. If the student reapplies, then he or she remains “active”. If there is no response, the student is designated “inactive” and will no longer receive mail from our office.

How “active” must a student participant be?

Students must participate in at least one Med Ed Program academic or professional development activity per semester. However, we understand that many of our Med Ed students are very active in numerous extra-curricular activities, which may often coincide with available Med Ed Program opportunities. The important thing for students to remember is to remain in frequent contact with the Med Ed Program.

What happens to a Med Ed participant after they graduate from high school?

Once a student enters college, he or she is still very much a part of our program. Remember, the pipeline goes from high school to college to the next level of professional education. College students continue to receive information and opportunities that will help them prepare for acceptance to medical school, dental school, nursing programs, etc. It is critical that we always have a current mailing address for our college students. We cannot get information to them if we do not know where they are. One way to keep us up-to-date is by submitting your SENIOR SURVEYS and COLLEGE TRACKING FORMS.

What is offered to college participants?

Opportunities include but are not limited to:

  • Shadow health professionals
  • Kaplan reviews for MCAT, DAT, GRE, etc.
  • Internships / Work in research ∙ Mentorship opportunities
  • Assistance with personal statements
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Interview preparation

What if the student loses interest in a health science career?

No problem. Students may exit the Med Ed Program at any time. It is helpful to our record keeping that we be informed if this occurs.

How can parents stay in touch with “what’s going on” in the Med Ed Program?

A monthly newsletter will be mailed to your home. Parents are also invited to attend/participate in any Med Ed Program activity or event that does not have a seating limit. Additionally, we want to encourage all of our students and parents to visit their nearest Med Ed Program office any time.