Prairie View A&M University welcomed representatives from The Texas A&M University System Health Science Center and College of Medicine for the Undergraduate Medical Academy signing ceremony Monday, November 29. The ceremony signified the official partnership of the three entities to prepare undergraduate students for careers in medicine.
The academy, which currently has 18 students, provides opportunities for hands-on training and research with College of Medicine basic science and clinical faculty at the College Station and Temple campuses. Students interested in pursuing a career in the medical field can receive assistance in preparing for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) and applying for medical school, as well as glimpse what the medical profession is like at an up close and personal level.
The signing ceremony was attended by faculty, staff and students from Prairie View A&M, and delegates from the A&M System Health Science Center and College of Medicine. Undergraduate Medical Academy students in white coats with the Prairie View A&M University logo sat in the front rows, clearly the guests of honor.
Dr. Dennis Daniels, director of the Undergraduate Medical Academy, kicked off the ceremony by recognizing the academy staff and then introduced Prairie View A&M President Dr. George Wright and Dr. Nancy W. Dickey, president of the Health Science Center and vice chancellor for health affairs for the A&M System.
After remarks by Drs. Wright and Dickey, Dr. Joahanne Thomas-Smith, Prairie View A&M provost and senior vice president for academic and student affairs, told the audience she could see the passion at Prairie View for creating the Undergraduate Medical Academy. “We are making a commitment and offering greater opportunities and access to our students,” Thomas-Smith said. “There will be a lot of words said here and they won’t be remembered, but generations will remember what we do here today.”
Dr. Thomas-Smith was followed by Dr. Alicia Dorsey, assistant vice president for academic affairs at the A&M System Health Science Center, Dr. Danny Kelley, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Prairie View, and Dr. Christopher Colenda, dean of the College of Medicine.
“This is a day of thanks and celebration,” Colenda remarked. “The Undergraduate Medical Academy is a truly innovative program that addresses social justice and helps recruit more underrepresented minority students to the medical professions. We know these students will become a part of our signature programs at the College of Medicine and we are looking forward to working with them.”
Lastly, Mina Rosenthal Eames, an academy student, spoke briefly about the dedication of the Undergraduate Medical Staff and the opportunities the students had already been offered.
Dr. Wright and Dr. Dickey signed the memorandum of understanding surrounded by Drs. Thomas-Smith, Colenda, Dorsey, Kelley and Daniels, as well as Undergraduate Medical Academy students.
Dr. Wright offered these final remarks to the students upon the closing of the ceremony, “To quote Churchill, ‘today is the end of the beginning.’ We are starting on an exciting journey together and you students will be the first to benefit from this program. Keep your idealism, because you can make a tremendous difference and make the world a better place.”
Founded in 1977, the College of Medicine at The Texas A&M University System’s Health Science Center is committed to educating, training and equipping physicians who are compassionate about their patients and dedicated to the communities in which they serve. Located on the Texas A&M University campus, the college utilizes approximately 700 basic scientists and clinicians to instruct students during the course of their medical education. The College of Medicine’s primary clinical affiliate is Scott & White Hospital in Temple, which is ranked as one of the top-15 teaching hospitals in the nation.

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