The Ninth Annual Grantee Meeting of the Summer Medical and Dental Education Program (SMDEP) recently convened December 4–6 in Atlanta, GA. ADEA’s Access, Diversity and Inclusion (ADI) portfolio joined the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the twelve principal investigators to examine its recent success and determine how to continue to improve future summer programming for students, with a particular focus on increasing interaction and engagement.
All twelve SMDEP sites throughout the United States are creating unique and encouraging environments for students to explore medical and dental career options. Each site was highlighted for its exceptional strategies, which include virtual storytelling, alumni engagement initiatives, mentoring and tutoring programs involving residential assistants and teaching assistants working with individual students and in groups. No two SMDEP sites are exactly alike, and each is successfully enriching students’ lives and providing an excellent support community for underrepresented (URM) minority students.
During the grantee meeting, SMDEP convened its first recruitment fair for all college students in the Atlanta area, drawing from local colleges and universities such as Spellman College, Morehouse College and Georgia Institute of Technology. More than 100 students came to learn more about medical and dental schools as well as the summer program and the unique mission of each SMDEP site.
Presentations for the principal investigators included a keynote address, “Enhancing Learning Environments,” by Dr. Risi Desai of the Khan Academy. He gave an overview of the Khan Academy’s work and explored how SMDEP program sites may utilize Khan Academy tools to enhance the six-week long summer sessions and increase student success and engagement.
A “State of the Professions” overview was presented by Dr. Marc Nivet of AAMC; Mrs. Sandra Bolivar, J.D., National Advisory Committee Chair; and Dr. Richard Valachovic, ADEA President and CEO. Issues addressed included a review of the state of the Affordable Care Act, increasing the number of URM students in health professions, updates and questions about the current evolution of interprofessional education and pertinent issues in light of the recent Supreme Court decision on Fisher v. Texas.