MARQUETTE – High school seniors Holly Nicholson of Rapid River and Brenda Theiler of Tomahawk, Wis., will be the first participants in the new MedStart program at Northern Michigan University.

NMU recently partnered with Wayne State University in Detroit, which has the largest medical school class in the nation, to form the “WSU MedStart at NMU” program.

It is available to incoming freshmen studying pre-med and features the following benefits: guaranteed admission to the WSU School of Medicine upon completion of the program requirements at NMU; a physician mentor and WSU med student mentor, both beginning in their freshman year; a one-week orientation on the WSU campus each spring after their first two years at NMU; and a 10-week paid clinical research experience at WSU School of Medicine following their junior year.

“Wayne State approached Northern and Michigan Tech to establish similar partnerships,” said Dave Lucas, director of the NMU pre-med program. “I think Wayne State initiated this because there’s a trend toward rural medicine and they wanted to do more outreach because they’re based in Detroit. The idea is to give rural students educational opportunities in the hope that they will return to rural areas to practice medicine.”

Lucas said both NMU and MTU will have two students selected for the program each year, beginning with the Fall 2004 semester. There will be another six to eight finalists selected at WSU. The participants will meet on a regular basis, mostly through teleconferencing or meetings at the medical school.

   Â Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚  “The students are not legally obligated to attend WSU, but the assumption is that these 12 students will get to know each other, develop a good understanding of how the system works, and become comfortable with the idea of applying there and enrolling with others they already know,” Lucas said. “This program is another layer of frosting on the cake in terms of what we offer to help prepare students for medical school.”

Other learning opportunities available to pre-med students at NMU include: •Preceptorships, which pair juniors and seniors with a physician at Marquette

General Hospital and gives them valuable observation experience; 

•Clinical conferences at MGH, which typically involve lunch and a presentation by a physician;

   Â Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚  •An operating room volunteer program;

   Â Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚  •A patient attendant program in which students help take care of at-risk patients who require supervision;

•Bi-annual seminars for freshmen and sophomores that introduce them to dentistry, oral surgery, chiropractic care and other fields in the event that they want to consider other careers besides a medical doctor;

   Â Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚  •MCAT study groups and practice tests;

   Â Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚  •An advisory board that interviews qualified candidates and generates letters of recommendation from the university on behalf of selected students bound for medical school; and

•Visits to the four medical schools in Michigan ;

   Â Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚  “All of these optional activities are in addition to the things students can do on their own to prepare for medical school,” Lucas said. “We are glad Wayne State is recognizing us. The MedStart program will complement what we already have in place and provide an added benefit for our students.”

Prepared By
Kristi Evans
News Director