Southern Utah University’s new Betty McDonald Pre-Med Institute (MPI) ceremoniously opened its doors on Wednesday with preparations now well underway for its first group of students set to join this Fall 2013 semester.
The new pre-med program, designed to satisfy the need for more complete medical school preparation for SUU’s international students, is the first of it’s kind in the country.
The MPI will enhance the traditional undergraduate pre-med experience by providing the necessary guidance and tutoring to SUU’s growing base of international students seeking medical degrees, engaging them in cultural immersion programs and helping to improve their communication skills and cultural acclimation.
University administrators see a bright future for the new pre-med program, and know it will fill an unmet need.
“Many of our international students come to the U.S. with dreams to enter the health profession,” explained MPI director, Johnny Oh, “But on top of the difficult course work, they’re confronted with learning a language at a collegiate level and adapting to a new culture. It can be very daunting.”
The new pre-med institute will provide access to personal tutors, help students properly compose their research writings, and connect them with local physicians.
In return, MPI students will participate in interpersonal and leadership training, complete community service projects, and benefit from outreach activities with the Harry Reid Outdoor Engagement Center.
Oh explains these additional activities all address important needs specific to the international student experience. “We aren’t just preparing these students for medical school. We’re preparing them for the rest of their future, and the MPI program will teach international students life management lessons and connect them with peers and faculty members that will greatly increase future success.”
SUU has long been known for its stand-out undergraduate preparation for students interested in graduate work and careers within the health fields, already touting a 96-percent student acceptance rate into medical schools among all its undergrads. The new McDonald Pre-Med Institute will ensure the University’s similarly-minded international students do not fall behind.
The Pre-Med Institute is an exclusive program, complete with acceptance requirements and a maximum capacity of 15 new students each year. This first year, the program hopes to bring in new freshmen, to usher them through the entirety of the four-year program. International recruitment for the upcoming fall semester will begin at the conclusion of the spring 2013 semester. Meanwhile, interested students may contact Johnny Oh, MPI director, at 435-865-8198.
SUU’s MPI program is named after philanthropist and southern Utah native Betty McDonald, who has dedicated her life to the health care field, beginning as a medical assistant and eventually becoming chief operations officer of Home Health Services, a regional hospice company she cofounded. McDonald is also a longtime mentor for SUU nursing faculty and students, generously sharing her knowledge and experience.