Program guarantees medical school admission

Arlington senior Thanh Nguyen was accepted to the Joint Admission Medical Program, which guarantees her admission to a participating medical school. Baylee VerSteeg | Multimedia Journalist

By Vivian Kwok | Reporter

As the end of April approaches, most senior premedicine students are making their final commitments for medical schools. Arlington senior Thanh Nguyen said being a pre-med student is one of the most difficult tracks in an undergraduate education. However, she said her acceptance into the Joint Admission Medical Program alleviated some of the stress that burdens most other premedicine students.

The Joint Admission Medical Program is a program “to support and encourage highly qualified, economically disadvantaged Texas resident students pursuing a medical education.” Qualified students accepted into the Joint Admission Medical Program are guaranteed admission to a participating medical school and receive scholarships for both their undergraduate and graduate education. They also receive stipends for and are required to participate in two medical school internships.

Linda Haynes, program manager for prehealth studies, said the Joint Admission Medical Program provides many opportunities for students to succeed in the medical school application process and after beginning medical school.

“JAMP [Joint Admission Medical Program] students will form a tight-knit relationship with networking and academic support over the years,” Haynes wrote in an email to the Lariat.

Nguyen said she first heard about the Joint Admission Medical Program as a freshman at a American Medical Student Association meeting.

“The next day, during chemistry class, Dr. David Pennington approached me and invited me to apply to JAMP with his help since he was the JAMP director for Baylor University,” Nguyen said.

Since Nguyen’s acceptance into the program, she has received additional mentorship, opportunities and support for her studies as a pre-med student. For example, Nguyen’s summer internships were at Texas A&M Health Science Center and UT Long School of Medicine in San Antonio.

“Some highlights of going to these internships include performing clinical exams on standardized patients at the new clinical skills center on the San Antonio campus, shadowing a surgery resident once a week and witnessing robotic surgery in action, having a pool party at the house of the associate dean of admission, learning ultrasound methods and taking medical school classes at A&M,” Nguyen said.

Nguyen said aside from exposure to the clinical setting, the most exciting aspect of the Joint Admission Medical Program internships were meeting her peers who will also become future physicians.

“[Being pre-med] is a marathon that requires endurance, sacrifice, passion and resilience,” Nguyen said. “With the knowledge that I will be allotted a spot in a Texas medical school as long as I maintain my GPA and MCAT through JAMP, a huge burden is lifted off my back, as it would for anyone.”

Nguyen said the financial aid through the Joint Admission Medical Program has allowed her to focus more on her education and goals without worrying if money will be an obstacle for pursuing a career in medicine.

“I channel the stress into getting involved at Baylor [by] volunteering at the family health center, going to the marina with friends, seeing theater performances, and simply getting to know and imitate Christ better,” Nguyen said. “Undergrad has truly been an adventure and growing experience.”

Moreover, Nguyen said the Joint Admission Medical Program has also provided her with a supportive community she would not otherwise have.

“Having a group that is relatable and supportive is always a good thing,” Nguyen said. “In sharing our stories as minority pre-medical students, it is evident that we strive to become physicians in order to serve in underserved areas.”

Nguyen said she will be attending UNT Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine in Fort Worth after she graduates from Baylor. She also said she intends to go into primary care and plans to work in Texas.

“Being accepted to JAMP is reassuring, but it is also such an honor to represent and eventually serve people in my community,” Nguyen said. “I am a first-generation student, so this has also been the most unbelievable blessing for me and my family.”

Haynes said students must schedule an appointment with her as early as possible for the Joint Admission Medical Program application process. She said the deadline to submit an application for this year is May 1.