KU program helps prepare brightest minority, rural students
for med school
David Alcindor started out studying architecture at KU. But
a stint volunteering in Haiti with an international medical
team taking care of children with AIDS changed his life.
By the time he returned to KU, he had decided to become a
doctor instead. But he had no idea where to begin. Luckily,
he discovered the Health Careers Pathways Program, a unique
regimen that helps students from minority and rural backgrounds
prepare for the challenges of getting accepted into medical
Alcindor received intensive training and guidance that helped
him prepare for medical school. He currently is in residency
at the KU School of Medicine.
KU launched Health Career Pathways in 1986, offering instruction
for high school, undergraduate, post-baccalaureate and entering
medical students. There are more than 100 students from across
the nation, including 65 college students, currently enrolled.
The highly competitive regimen has successfully placed more
than 90 percent of its students in medical schools across
the country. Several participants have gone on to serve as
physicians in inner cities and remote rural communities.
Amber Reagan-Kendrick, associate director for the program
at both the KU Lawrence campus and the KU Medical Center,
said the importance of attracting the brightest minority students
into the medical profession is more important than ever.
"There is this issue of minorities being afraid to seek
medical care because there is a mistrust," she said.
"But if you have a doctor that looks like you, maybe
you'll go in and seek the medical care."
The program also strives to attract students from rural backgrounds,
where there also is a shortage of physicians.