Health Professions

Bachelor of Science in Medical Sciences program: a student’s perspective

Grecia Almanza, Bachelor of Science in Medical Sciences student

 

Grecia Almanza Castaneda wants to be a cardiothoracic surgeon, and she enrolled in the new Bachelor of Science in Medical Sciences program at UT Health San Antonio as one step toward that goal.

The BS in Medical Sciences program, which welcomed its first class in August 2022, is designed to prepare students for competitive application to professional graduate school programs including medicine, nursing, dental, pharmacy and allied health professions.

“The lungs and heart — that’s what interests me,” said Almanza, one of 16 students in the program’s first cohort. Almanza transferred to UT Health San Antonio after beginning her undergraduate studies in biology at another university.

“I actually chose this program because I really like the curriculum,” she said. “The courses we take are science-based with a more medical focus. I just thought this would help me become a well-rounded health care student and prepare me to go to grad school.”

Although Almanza ultimately wants to be a cardiothoracic surgeon, she is considering applying to the Master of Science in Respiratory Care program at UT Health San Antonio as part of her path to applying to medical school. Almanza grew up thinking about medicine as a natural career; her father is a veterinarian and her mother attended medical school. In high school, an anatomy course sparked her fascination with the cardiovascular system.

The opportunity to attend college at an academic medical center is something Almanza finds especially exciting.

“I can visualize myself already there working at the hospital, and I am reminded every day of my end goal,” she said. “Here I don’t feel like I’m just a student. The professors make you feel like you are part of something.”

Even though Almanza entered the program with a specific interest, students are not expected to have chosen a health care field upon entering the program, which exposes students to a range of health professions, said Assistant Professor/Clinical Guillermo Nunez, MS, MLS(ASCP)CM.

“The main purpose of the program is to serve as an excellent pathway for students to get into graduate school and health care professions,” he said. “Many students know about medicine, dentistry and nursing, but there is a wide array of health care professions that are in great demand and that students may not be aware of.”

The BS in Medical Sciences curriculum includes courses in anatomy, biostatistics, biochemistry, microbiology, genetics, pharmacology, health care informatics, medical ethics and patient assessment, Nunez said. The second year includes a clinical rotation, something Almanza said she and her classmates are looking forward to experiencing.

“Every single one of us is really excited about being able to shadow the profession that we want,” she said.

To learn more about the Bachelor of Science in Medical Sciences, visit the program page.

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