In what is being called a first-of-its-kind initiative to select tomorrow’s doctors was launched by Shenendehowa High School, in conjunction with Siena College and Albany Medical College.
“ShenNext Medicine: Selecting Tomorrow’s Doctors Today” is a partnership that offers the opportunity for a Shenendehowa student who wants to become a physician to be accepted more than a year earlier than usual by Siena College and Albany Medical College for their combined eight-year program.
The initiative offers a Shenendehowa junior acceptance to both college and medical school at the same time and includes a scholarship at Siena of $16,000 per year for four years, program officials said.
In addition to this early college and medical school acceptance, ShenNext Medicine is unique because it relies on a panel of Siena students enrolled in the Siena College- Albany Medical College medical education program to choose the award winner. It also involves specially designed mentoring opportunities at Siena and Albany Medical College, officials said.
“This exciting program is a component of a new partnership of Shenendehowa Central Schools, Siena College and Albany Medical Center. It grew out of Shen’s ongoing efforts to work with colleges and universities to provide more opportunities for our students,” said L. Oliver Robinson, Ph.D., superintendent of Shenendehowa Central Schools. “For those Shen students especially interested in a career in medicine, it offers an opportunity to study in a prestigious program to ultimately reach their dream of becoming a physician.”
According to James J. Barba, president and CEO of Albany Medical Center, who with Robinson conceived the joint initiative, “The partnership developed out of Albany Med’s commitment to being a resource to the communities we serve as well as Albany Medical College’s and Siena College’s commitment to preparing well-educated, compassionate and caring doctors of tomorrow.”
“Nowhere is that commitment more evident than in the ‘Siena College-Albany Medical College Program in Science, Humanities and Medicine’ to which a qualified Shen student will be offered acceptance annually,” said Edward LaRow, Ph.D., who has directed the program at Siena College since its inception in 1986, when it was the first of its kind in the U.S.
It emphasizes humanities, ethics and social service as well as the traditional sciences. Today the Siena-AMC program is highly selective, typically attracting about 460 applicants annually for 15 seats, according to program officials.
Seventy-five Shenendehowa sophomores, all in the top 10 percent of their class, qualified for ShenNext Medicine, which leads to the Siena College-Albany Medical College Program in Science, Humanities and Medicine.
Those interested must submit an essay detailing their commitment to becoming a physician. They must possess a strong grade point average, appropriate academic course of study and preparation, exceptional leadership and communication skills, and a history of community service. In addition, they must be caring and compassionate. Three to five finalists will be announced on May 23.
These finalists will then participate in a specially designed mentoring program with Siena College students from the Siena-AMC program as well as in special opportunities for enrichment at Albany Medical College, on which they will be judged, along with input from LaRow and Dr. Vincent Verdile, dean of Albany Medical College; their SAT scores; and three letters of support. The first ShenNext Medicine Scholar will be announced in January 2014.
For more information on the ShenNext Medicine: Selecting Tomorrow’s Doctors Today, visit www.shenet.org. For more information on the Siena College-Albany Medical College Program in Science, Humanities and Medicine, visit www.siena.edu/amc.