Published on Sept. 1, 2014
For many students, the path to becoming a doctor starts with the Medopp program.
Medopp, which is offered to all pre-medical, pre-dental, pre-optometry and pre-podiatry students at MU, is designed to complement a student’s academic achievements in preparation for application to professional schools. The programming is much more than academic advising.
“We consider ourselves a comprehensive pre-health advising program,” says Kristina Wright, senior academic adviser in the Honors College and chief health professions adviser. “The conversations we have are about the competencies that the students need to develop. We also do self-evaluations and career exploration to confirm that this profession is right for them.”
Formerly the Pre-Health Professions Advising Program, it was rebranded last year, adopting the Medopp name. The rebranding helped to separate the program’s services from the general honors advising and the advising that take place in the School of Health Professions.
“We want students to know that Medopp is for all who are interested in becoming a doctor,” Wright says.
The rebranding led to a jump in enrollment and increased visibility for the program. Individual advising appointments are up 15%, reaching nearly 1,100 students during the 2013-14 academic year. Attendance at the workshops grew 27%, with approximately 1,400 students attending last year.
Wright credits part of the success to the support received from MU faculty members.
“We have had the pleasure of collaborating with talented and inspiring faculty across campus,” Wright says. “It is their dedication and insight that provides support and direction for this gifted pool of students.”
The first two years of the program include small group advising sessions that are conversational and open for students to ask questions and meet others in similar positions. Juniors and seniors participate in the Medical and Dental Application Program, attend workshops and have individual consultations with advisers.
Wright and associate health professions adviser Susan Geisert conduct assessments with the students and provide them with a realistic view on how competitive they will be when it comes time to apply.
“We try to help them grow as individuals through the investigative process so they are looking inward, developing those competencies and gaining more confidence in the decisions they are making,” Geisert says.
Annually, Medopp offers over 30 workshops on topics such as arranging job shadowing, identifying beneficial volunteer experiences and finding research opportunities. There are also presentations on interviewing, writing personal statements and obtaining letters of recommendation.
“If the students are involved and take the time to go to the workshops, when it comes time to fill out the application, they will have all the pieces and just need to put them in place and press the button,” Geisert says.
“It is really about helping them from day one all the way up to the time they either get in to medical school or decide they want to do something else,” Wright says.