UArizona’s new program gives students an accelerated pathway to medical school

UArizona’s new program gives students an accelerated pathway to medical school

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TUCSON (KVOA) – Imagine being 18-years-old and already knowing that you will be attending medical school.

At the University of Arizona, that is now a reality.

Six high school graduates will be the first class of students to participate in the University of Arizona’s new Accelerated Pathway to Medical Education program.

Ivan Carrillo is a member of the APME program’s first class. He said the experience has been surreal.

“It hasn’t clicked yet that we are going to medical school, said Carrillo. “Probably when we’re there, we’ll realize we actually are going to be physicians and doctors. Personally, I mean, I couldn’t have asked for more,” Carrillo said.

Dr. Zoe Cohen is an associate professor in the Department of Physiology at the University of Arizona.

She also serves as the Director of the APME program.

“We chose six students, we had over 93 applications in our first year,” said Dr. Cohen. “We’re looking for students that absolutely know that a career in medicine is what they want.”

The program is the first of its kind in the southwest.

“It’s an MD program, so we’re choosing amazing high school seniors who will come to the University of Arizona, they’ll do their first three years on the undergraduate campus, and then they will matriculate into the College of Medicine after three years,” said Dr. Cohen.

Acceptance guarantees students early admission into Tucson’s College of Medicine.

Students aren’t required to complete a bachelor’s degree which reduces the length of time from undergrad to a medical degree from eight years to seven.

“The other thing that makes this group special, is we’re not requiring the MCAT, so they don’t have to worry about taking this big test to get into medical school,” said Dr. Cohen.

Ivan believes this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“I knew that I wanted to be a physician, and living in a border town, and looking at their medical system versus here, it opened my eyes,” said Carrillo. “It just inspires me and I said this is what I have to do. I have to help others.”

“I think these students are going to become medical leaders,” said Dr. Cohen. We’re really expecting them to be leaders once they graduate.”

The APME students are: Ivan Carrillo, Nogales High School, Nogales; Makenna Ley and Nikhil Mathur, University High School, Tucson; Kyra Singh, BASIS North High School, Tucson; Pu-Kai “Phil” Tseng, Union High School, Camas, Washington; and Yi-Jen Yang, BASIS Oro Valley High School, Oro Valley.

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