Center of Excellence for Diversity in Health Education and Research

Header Image

Summer Pre-Med Enrichment Program For Under-Represented Minority Students


For the past sixteen years, the Center has sponsored  a summer pre-medicine enrichment program for URM undergraduate students selected from a national pool of applicants.The aim of this program is to prepare under-represented minority students for careers in academic medicine or other positions of leadership in medicine. This program provides a model for pre-med preparation that differs from other programs by exposing all students to a minority clinical or research mentor and by exposing students to clinical and health services research (rather than to only bench research).  The program augments pre-med programs at undergraduate institutions by offering participants the opportunity to work with medical school faculty research mentors, shadow physicians, attend academic lectures and prepare for the MCAT exam with Kaplan, Inc.  Over ten weeks, 10 students who have completed at least two years of undergraduate education, participate in research, clinical observations and lectures/seminars that are designed to stimulate their interest in academic medicine and prepare them for medical school.  In addition, the students attend a medical school admissions workshop (conducted by the Director of Admissions of the School of Medicine) to guide them through the medical school admissions process, to prepare them to complete their AMCAS (American Medical Colleges Application Service) application, and to provide  practice in interviewing and writing the personal statement.

This summer program is sponsored by the Center of Excellence for Diversity in Health Education and Research of the Perelman School of Medicine, with funds provided by Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Bureau of  Health Workforce. Jerry C. Johnson, M.D., Professor of Medicine, is the Project Director.

Program Components:

Research and Clinical Observation

For the research component of the program, each student is assigned a medical school faculty mentor with whom the student works 3 days per week in a laboratory or clinical setting. At the end of the program, each student participant gives a PowerPoint presentation pertaining to their work before an audience composed of medical school faculty, medical students and other summer program students. Students are assigned a variety of clinical preceptors with whom the participants shadow.

Lecture Series

The lecture series consist of  topics designed to introduce the student to principles of medical education, health care and public health.

Past Lecture topics have included:                                                
  • What It Means to Be a Doctor
  • Publicly Funded Health Programs
  • New Models of Care
  • Health Disparities
  • New Applications of Social Media in Research
  • Community Based Research
  • Medical School Application Tips
  • Medical School Interview Strategies
  • Writing the Personal Statement

MCAT Classroom Instruction and Testing

Kaplan MCAT instruction and testing include:

  •  Custom instruction to meet  individual needs
  •  In person core sessions with convenient live and recorded make-ups
  •  MCAT practice items, including full-length practice tests, each fully aligned with the new test blueprint
  • Virtual City Sessions:  These scheduled sessions, held in a computer lab,  provide student participants with the opportunity to work through a  personalized plan of online resources and to focus on  content areas and strategies  personally needed to continue to increase their scores. A Kaplan instructor  moderates several of the sessions (early on) to ensure that student participants understand how to best leverage these resources. These online resources include: (a) The MCAT Channel--providing  unlimited access to hours of   supplemental live, online instruction (b) MCAT Qbank--allowing student participants to design their own practice quizzes from  MCAT-style questions and track their progress.
  •  Kaplan:7-Book Subject Review, Lesson Book and High-Yield Problem Solving Guide--created in partnership with Scientific American 


Penn COE 2016 Summer Pre-Med Enrichment Program:

For the Penn COE 2016 Summer Pre-Med Enrichment Program for Minority Students, the student participants (n=12) included representatives from the following  institutions: Cornell  University,  Grinnell  College, Hampton University, LaSalle University, Oakwood University, Temple University, University of Pennsylvania (n=2) University of Puerto Rico (n=2),  Western Connecticut State University and Xavier University. As with previous programs, all student participants were assigned  Perelman School of Medicine (PSOM) faculty mentors with whom the students worked on a basic science or clinical project  and were also assigned clinical preceptors. The Penn COE  contracted with Kaplan, Inc. to provide its MCAT 2016 course (including live classroom instruction, online resources and instructional materials) to prepare the participants for the new Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT).

Summer Program Alumni:

The Penn Center of Excellence (Penn COE) Summer Pre-Med Enrichment Program was recently featured in the Perelman School of Medicine publication, System News: “Investing in the Future,” September 2015

Many of  Penn COE summer program alumni are now practitioners pursuing successful careers.  For a listing of these participants and their areas of practice, view our alumni compendium at this link: COE Summer Program Alumni Compendium.

In addition, several alumni are pursuing careers in academic medicine at the following schools of medicine:

  • Indiana University School of Medicine
  • Morehouse School of Medicine
  • New York University School of Medicine
  • Temple School of Medicine
  • Tulane University School of Medicine                                                                                                                                                                                                         One recent Penn COE Summer Pre-Med Enrichment Program participant (Summer of 2015 and Summer of 2016) has been  selected as a 2017 Rhodes Scholar:


 Next Penn COE Summer Pre-Med Enrichment Program:

For Questions Concerning Our Next Summer Pre-Med Enrichment Program Contact:

                                         Jessica Incmikoski: Summer Program Coordinator


(215) 898-3492


  1. Minimum 3.0 Cumulative GPA
  2. Rising Junior or Rising Senior  (Undergraduates Only)
  3. Submit and Complete an Online Application
  4. Two Letters of Recommendation
  5. Official Undergraduate Transcripts (from any institution attended)
  6.  See brochure for additional information Penn COE Summer Pre-Med Enrichment Program at PSOM--Brochure.pdf





News & Announcements