Pre-med boot camp at UMass Medical School
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(NECN: Matt Fitzgerald) - "It's a boot camp to medical school."
What Professor Robert Layne is talking about is a little known program at UMass Medical School for college sophomores and juniors interested in the medical field.
The summer program targets minorities, and it takes them through a rigorus four week journey learning everything there is to know about applying and eventually going to medical school.
"Throughout the day we have a lot of our professionals coming in to our seminars to speak to them about their careers in bio-medical research, bio-technology, or any other health professions," Layne says.
Along with the seminars, the students get real world experiences by shadowing doctors and nurses throughout their work day.
Twenty-two students - all from Massachusetts - were accepted into this year's program, and on Frida, they had their graduation ceremony.
"It's nice being on the other side of the ER, instead of being the patient," Cassandra Ferragamo says.
Ferragamo, 21, of Medford knows all too well what hospitals are like. Growing up, she was in in out of them all the time while visiting her father, who was suffering from Alzheimer's. It was that experience that made her want to become a neurologist.
"I just love the environment of the hospitals, how they all work together. I want to be a part of that," Ferragamo says.
The program also provides eye-opening experiences, as 20-year-old Dawilmer Castillo of Boston found out while on a shadow.
"I got to experience a tragedy, and I got the opportunity to see how doctors and nurses interact with each other in order to save a patient's life," Castillo says.
Both Ferragamo and Castillo say the program really helped them make sure they were on the right track with their career.
"Hearing all the lecturers come in and talk about their work and shadowing in the ER definitely solidified it," Ferragamo says.
"It's something that I enjoy, and something I want to wake up to everyday," Castillo says.
Professor Layne says the goal of the program is to give the students an edge when applying to medical schools, and since it launched in the 80s, he has seen a very high success rate from the students who have gone through the program - many of them he still talks to years later.
"It's like being a proud papa," he says.