New PPC Partner – South Texas College

November 10, 2004

College of Medicine to Sign Partnership for Primary Care Agreement with South Texas College in McAllen
Officials from The Texas A&M University System Health Science Center and South Texas College will sign an Agreement for Cooperative Participation in the College of Medicine’s Partnership for Primary Care Program on Friday, November 12, at South Texas College (STC) in McAllen. The signing ceremony will take place at 11 a.m. at Building H, Room 101, STC Pecan Campus, 3201 W. Pecan Street.
Representing the A&M Health Science Center at the ceremony will be Nancy W. Dickey, M.D., president of the A&M Health Science Center and vice chancellor for health affairs for the A&M System, and Christopher C. Colenda, M.D., M.P.H., dean of the College of Medicine at the A&M Health Science Center. Representing South Texas College will be Shirley A. Reed, M.B.A., Ed.D., STC president.
The goal of the Partnership for Primary Care (PPC) Program is to increase the number of physicians practicing in parts of Texas that are medically underserved by giving promising high school graduates from rural areas an alternative path into medical school.
Students chosen for the program are required to meet the same academic standards as other applicants to the College of Medicine, but they do not have to take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), as long as their undergraduate work at an A&M System university also meets College of Medicine admission standards. Program graduates are strongly encouraged to return to their community or another rural area to practice.
South Texas College joins eight A&M System universities as the newest partner with the College of Medicine in the PPC program. This particular partnership also involves the participation of the Biomedical Science Program (BIMS) at the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine, and the Biology Program in the College of Science, also at Texas A&M. As the Cooperative Agreement document states, the College of Medicine and STC will “cooperatively recruit qualified students for simultaneous admission to STC and to the [College of Medicine], provided students transfer successfully to the Texas A&M University BIMS or Biology programs. Students are expected to complete the associate of science degree at STC, a baccalaureate degree in BIMS or Biology at Texas A&M University, and the M.D. degree at the [College of Medicine].”
An existing STC initiative, the Valley Scholars Program, is expected to mesh well with the PPC program because Valley Scholars selects high-achieving but economically disadvantaged students for financial sponsorship by area businesses. The cooperative agreement provides that this program will be the source of PPC participants from STC.
Students entering the PPC program from high school must have the equivalent of a 3.5 GPA, graduate in the top 10 percent of their class and achieve a minimum of 1200 on the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) or 26 on the ACT. Undergraduate participants must maintain a 3.5 cumulative GPA after their first year and must take standard prerequisite courses for College of Medicine entrance. There are currently 88 students enrolled in the PPC program.
The Texas A&M University System Health Science Center provides the state with health education, outreach and research. Its five components located in communities throughout Texas are Baylor College of Dentistry, the College of Medicine, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, the Institute of Biosciences and Technology and the School of Rural Public Health.

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