Newswise — BOSTON (Jan. 9, 2017)—Last week, 28 undergraduate students from the University of Massachusetts Boston began a three-week pipeline program at Tufts University School of Medicine to build connections and gain an intensive introduction to life as a physician or scientist. The annual Tufts University School of Medicine/University of Massachusetts Boston Enrichment Program (TUSM/UMass Boston) provides UMass Boston students, many of whom come from communities underrepresented in medicine, with valuable insights as they consider futures in medicine or research. This is the program’s fifth year running.

“As we train future doctors and researchers, we must address the need for a diverse workforce to combat disparities in health and health care. This collaborative program seeks to increase opportunities and support for students interested in healthcare and the health sciences as well as ultimately increase the range of perspectives in these fields,” said Joyce A. Sackey, M.D., dean for multicultural affairs and global health at Tufts University School of Medicine.

The TUSM/UMass Boston Enrichment Program offers two tracks depending on students’ interests: the Pathway to Clinical and Health Careers for those interested in working in a clinical setting, and the Pathway to Ph.D. for those interested in a career in basic science research.

Students who choose the clinical track shadow Tufts medical students and Tufts Medical Center clinicians, learn how to identify health challenges and describe potential approaches to finding solutions, and complete introductory work for traditional medical school courses. Students who choose the research track shadow graduate students at the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at Tufts and learn laboratory and research techniques.

“Our two institutions share a commitment to eliminating health disparities and training health care professionals who resemble the communities they serve,” said UMass Boston Chancellor J. Keith Motley. “We’re proud to be a founding partner of the TUSM/UMass Boston program, and we’re thrilled to send a new group of undergraduates to the medical school again this year.”

The program, which runs Jan. 3-20, includes career workshops where students learn how to write a persuasive résumé, apply for summer research internships and graduate school, and finance their graduate education. Students also hear about possible career paths from representatives from Tufts University School of Medicine, the Sackler School, the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine and the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts.

“Being part of the TUSM/UMass Boston program was an unforgettable experience. As a science and pre-med student, having the opportunity to sit in a classroom at Tufts University School of Medicine and interact with medical students, PhD students and renowned physicians and professors was a dream come true. Each day I went home feeling even more motivated to pursue a career in medicine,” said Emal Lesha, a 2013 participant in the TUSM/UMass Boston Enrichment Program, 2015 UMass Boston graduate and member of Tufts University School of Medicine’s Class of 2020.

Students participating in the 2017 program are: Pathway to Clinical and Health Careers -Isam Adam – Dorchester, MA -Anuoluwapo Ajao – Randolph, MA -Mohamed Anwar – Malden, MA -Steven Assaad – Wellesley, MA -Cody Boehner – Rehoboth, MA -Jennifer Boulter – Pembroke, MA -Joseph Carlin – Norton, MA -Maria Carrillo – Lawrence, MA -Jonique Depina – Beaufort, SC -Jacqueline Flynn – Braintree, MA -Jason Fong – Malden, MA -Nada Laroussi – Lynn, MA -Christian Letizia – Hanover, MA -Alyssa Mainelli – Worcester, MA -Latifa Pina – Randolph, MA -Natalia Sabogal – Allston, MA -Colton Smith – Kingston, MA -Overbeck Christian Takou Mbah – Cameroon, Central Africa -Melissa Harters – Shrewsbury, MA -Naomi Stuffers – Norton, MA

Pathway to Ph.D. -Klaida Azizi – Medford, MA -Klaudja Caushi – Malden, MA -Saida Cora – Kyiv, Ukraine -Emily Martin-Lockard – Hamilton, MA -Shirin Shabahang – Quincy, MA -Najah Walton – Worcester, MA -Trishawna Watkins – Holbrook, MA -Tianyue Zhang – Zhengzhou, Henan, China

The TUSM/UMass Boston Enrichment Program is one of several pipeline programs offered by Tufts University School of Medicine and the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at Tufts as part of a commitment by the schools to pursue initiatives that will diversify the applicant pool for academic programs in medicine and biomedical sciences and the related workforce. Tufts offers pipeline programs for students in middle school, high school and college, as well as college graduates.

About Tufts University School of Medicine and the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical SciencesTufts University School of Medicine and the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at Tufts are international leaders in innovative medical and population health education and advanced research. Tufts University School of Medicine emphasizes rigorous fundamentals in a dynamic learning environment to educate physicians, scientists, and public health professionals to become leaders in their fields. The School of Medicine and the Sackler School are renowned for excellence in education in general medicine, the biomedical sciences, and public health, as well as for innovative research at the cellular, molecular, and population health level. Ranked among the top in the nation, the School of Medicine is affiliated with six major teaching hospitals and more than 30 health care facilities. Tufts University School of Medicine and the Sackler School undertake research that is consistently rated among the highest in the nation for its effect on the advancement of medical and prevention science.

About UMass Boston The University of Massachusetts Boston is deeply rooted in the city's history, yet poised to address the challenges of the future. Recognized for innovative research, metropolitan Boston’s public university offers its diverse student population both an intimate learning environment and the rich experience of a great American city. UMass Boston’s 11 colleges and graduate schools serve nearly 17,000 students while engaging local and global constituents through academic programs, research centers, and public service. To learn more, visit ###