New Name, Broader Focus for Summer Health Professions Education Program

Expansion enabled through support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation


Brooke Bergen, AAMC
(202) 828-0419

(202) 289-7201

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Washington, D.C., October 11, 2016—Today, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) announced that the Summer Medical and Dental Education Program (SMDEP) has a new name and an expanded focus. Renamed the Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP), the program continues to be supported through funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and has now expanded to incorporate learning opportunities for students interested in careers across the health professions, including nursing, pharmacy, physician assistants, and public health.

“Since 1989, this program has provided opportunities for thousands of college students interested in a career in medicine and dentistry,” said Darrell G. Kirch, MD, president and CEO of the AAMC. “By expanding to additional health professions, this unique enrichment program will strengthen academic proficiency and career development opportunities for students underrepresented in the health professions and prepare them for a successful future in health professions schools.”

SHPEP is a free, six-week summer enrichment program focused on improving access to information and resources for college students from communities underrepresented in the health professions, including, but not limited to, individuals who identify as African American/Black, American Indian and Alaska Native, and Hispanic/Latino and who are from socioeconomically and educationally disadvantaged communities. SHPEP offers students a number of academic and career experiences, including an introduction to interprofessional education that addresses effective collaboration across health professions.

Since the program was established in 1989, more than 20,000 students have participated, receiving academic enrichment in the basic sciences and math, clinical experiences, career development activities, learning and study skills seminars, and a financial planning workshop. Funding from RWJF covers all costs of student housing, meals, and travel to and from the program site. Rising college sophomores and juniors who are U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or granted Differed Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status are eligible to apply.

“For over 25 years, this program has opened up avenues to the health professions that, without the leadership of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, would have remained very narrow,” said Richard W. Valachovic, DMD, MPH, president and CEO of ADEA. “It is very exciting to be involved in the next iteration of the Summer Health Professions Education Program, where we are living the promise of true interprofessional education and

In 2017, SHPEP will take place at 13 program sites across the nation: Columbia University; Howard University; Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center; Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey; University of Alabama at Birmingham; University of California – LA/Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science; University of Florida; University of Iowa; University of Louisville; University of Nebraska Medical Center; University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston; University of Washington; and Western University of Health Sciences. Each site will accept 80 students.

Information about SHPEP and the application process is available  at Applications for the 2017 summer season will be accepted from Nov. 1, 2016, through March 1, 2017.


About the AAMC

The Association of American Medical Colleges is a not-for-profit association dedicated to transforming health care through innovative medical education, cutting-edge patient care, and groundbreaking medical research. Its members comprise all 145 accredited U.S. and 17 accredited Canadian medical schools; nearly 400 major teaching hospitals and health systems, including 51 Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers; and more than 80 academic societies. Through these institutions and organizations, the AAMC serves the leaders of America’s medical schools and teaching hospitals and their nearly 160,000 faculty members, 83,000 medical students, and 115,000 resident physicians. Additional information about the AAMC and its member medical schools and teaching hospitals is available at

About ADEA

The American Dental Education Association (ADEA) is The Voice of Dental Education. Its members include all 76 U.S. and Canadian dental schools, over 800 allied and advanced dental education programs, 66 corporations, and more than 20,000 individuals. The mission of ADEA is to lead institutions and individuals in the dental education community to address contemporary issues influencing education, research, and the delivery of oral health care for the overall health and safety of the public. ADEA’s activities encompass a wide range of research, advocacy, faculty development, meetings, and communications, including the esteemed Journal of Dental Education, as well as the dental school admissions services ADEA AADSAS, ADEA PASS, ADEA DHCAS, and ADEA CAAPID. For more information about ADEA, visit

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

For more than 40 years, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve health and health care. The organization is working with others to build a national Culture of Health enabling everyone in America to live longer, healthier lives. For more information, visit Follow the Foundation on Twitter at or on Facebook at