Benedictine University (BenU) students who are bilingual in English and Spanish and meet the admission requirements have the opportunity for a guaranteed medical school interview, thanks to a new collaboration between the school and Ponce Health Sciences University (PHSU) School of Medicine in Puerto Rico.
Through this collaborative effort, BenU students who are in certain bachelor’s degree programs and Master of Science in Integrative Physiology have a leg up in the application process for PHSU. While their admission is not guaranteed, they will have the opportunity to explain to PHSU admissions committee members why they should gain admittance during a face-to-face interview.
“For some of our students, their application to medical school is not competitive enough to rise to the top of the list among other medical school applicants,” said Dr. Jayashree Sarathy, Director of Graduate Studies and Chair of BenU’s Department of Biological Sciences. “This collaboration gives them the opportunity to show the school how passionate they are about medicine and to become great health care professionals.”
Another advantage to the partnership is that it allows some students to enter PHSU after only three years of undergraduate work at BenU. These students still must meet most of their undergraduate requirements at BenU, and they will need high Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) scores and strong letters of recommendation. But the partnership allows them to take some of their upper-level science electives at PHSU, which they would normally take in their final year at BenU.
“Ponce Health Sciences University School of Medicine’s mission is to educate bilingual ethical professionals,” said Olga Rodriguez de Arzola, MD, FAAP, Dean of the School of Medicine at PHSU. “We are very excited to welcome students from BenU who can return to Spanishspeaking communities in Illinois or any other place in the U.S. to provide compassionate and culturally competent health care.”
“This is an incredible opportunity for BenU students who want to become physicians,” added Dr. Kenneth Newbold, Provost and Chief Academic Officer at Benedictine University. “With this partnership with PHSU, our school renews their commitment to provide professional avenues to our increasing diverse student population.”
Throughout its 44 years in Ponce, PHSU has graduated more than 3,000 physicians and health sciences professionals. The PHSU mission is “to educate bilingual ethical professionals who provide compassionate, culturally competent health care and generate high impact research to reduce health disparities in Puerto Rico and the US, through high quality education in a diverse environment.”