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Three Pre-health Enrichment Opportunities for Summer 2011

If you are a pre-health student and want to experience what it is like to be on a health profession school campus and gain valuable exposure to a profession, a summer enrichment program may be a great way to spend your time.

Three programs are featured from the ExploreHealthCareers’ Find a Pre-health Enrichment database that helps prepare students for entry into veterinary medicine, dentistry, and optometry.

Vetward Bound for Veterinary Medicine

Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine offers a program to encourage students to consider a career in veterinary medicine. Vetward Bound’s goal is to develop a pool of disadvantaged students who are academically well-qualified for veterinary medical school. The program facilitates admission and assists in retaining students once they are admitted.

The program is specifically tailored to three levels of students. Level 1 is for undergraduate students who have completed biology or chemistry and do not plan to apply to professional school for at least two years. These students receive basic science enrichment. Level 2 students plan to apply to veterinary school within one year and receive assistance with applications, GRE Prep and a sample of academic courses. Level 3 students must have an acceptance letter to a veterinary medical school. These students receive a simulated veterinary medical school curriculum. Clinical experience either in a vet clinic or office allows students to get a realistic perspective on what is like to be a veterinarian. All three levels of students receive study skill strategies and field experience and exposure to animals

The application deadline is March 1, 2011. For more information please contact the program at

Oral Health Improvement Through Outreach (Ohio Project) and Dental Prep Institute

The Ohio State University College of Dentistry sponsors an oral health initiative which trains students to become more socially aware dental practitioners. The Oral Health Improvement through Outreach (OHIO Project) was developed through a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s (RWJF) Pipeline, Profession & Practice program. Canise Bean, D.M.D., M.P.H., Associate Professor and Clinical Director of Community Education, explained the goals of the project: “When the OHIO Project was initiated in 2003, our major thrusts were to 1) place our senior students in community sites for 60 full days to provide care to underserved populations; and 2) increase the number of underrepresented students at the College of Dentistry.” Since the termination of the grant in 2008, the College established the Office of Community Education which still manages the placement of students in sites throughout the state of Ohio. This aspect is now known as the OHIO Project. The office also operates and manages a mobile dental coach as well as the Dental Prep Institute.

The on-site and community six-week summer Dental Prep Institute program is for 11th and 12th grade students. The program was created to help high school students explore interest in health careers, including dentistry, dental assisting, dental hygiene, dental laboratory technology, research, and academia. The curriculum includes an overview of prevention and treatment of common oral and dental diseases, as well as oral and dental anatomy. Students also get a chance to spend one full day in a minority dentist’s office. Future employment opportunities are nurtured as well as mentoring relationships.

The program has influenced students’ decision to choose dentistry as a career after participating in the program. Students send Dr. Bean letters expressing appreciation for being a part of the program. One student shared how the Dental Prep Institute experience helped her choose dentistry, "I came to this program confused as to what career I was interested in but now I have my mind made up…Now I know I want to be a dentist!"

The application deadline for the Dental Prep Institute is April 29, 2011. For more information about the program, please contact Dr. Canise Bean at

AAMC and ADEA collaborate on the Summer Medical and Dental Education Program (SMDEP), formerly known as the Minority Medical Education Program. This program provides a free, six-week academic enrichment program for freshmen and sophomore college students. From 2006 to 2009, 3,833 students participated and to date, 267 SMDEP alumni are enrolled in medical school and 121 in dental school.

Optometry Opto-Camp

The School of Optometry at University of California Berkeley’s Opto-Camp is a three-day residential summer program designed to introduce underrepresented pre-health undergraduate science majors to the profession of optometry. Students learn how to submit a successful application to optometry school. Preference is given to students who are rising seniors in the fall of 2011, have a 2.8 grade point average or higher, and are the first in their family to pursue higher education beyond high school.

During the three-day program, students interact with mentors who are current optometry graduate students. Students also learn about the profession by gaining an understanding of what an optometrist does, receives a lecture and demonstration on the human eye and a free eye examination. Students are introduced to UC Berkeley’s Optometry program, academic requirements, how to pay for school, and the interview process. The program is a comprehensive introduction to the world of optometry.

Applications for Opto-Camp 2011 will be available in mid-February, 2011. For more information please contact the program at

*The ExploreHealthCareers Find a Pre-Health Enrichment Program database is being updated to reflect new program start and end dates and deadline dates for 2011. If you know of a program that is not included in the database, please send an email to