Although summer at UAB has a sense of calm, among the health professions students were busy. As the temperature climbed over 95 degrees, the Summer Health Enrichment Program (SHEP) was in full swing, drawing together students from universities and colleges throughout the Southeast. From Miles College to Xavier University to the University of Miami, from Emory University to Auburn to Troy University, students from4 Women all walks of life assembled at UAB for 5 weeks to learn more about the realities of pursuing a career in health care.

“SHEP identifies promising students and provides them with opportunities to strengthen their applications,” says Brandon Wolfe, Ph.D, Director of the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs in the School of Medicine. “They also create meaningful connections and networks between like-minded students and health care professionals. In doing so, we strengthen the pipeline to the health workforce.”

The Summer Health Enrichment Program invites undergraduate students and recent graduates to UAB to delve into numerous health care interests: medicine, rural medicine, dentistry, and physician assistant programs. SHEP students attend workshops and lectures in professionalism, basic science, interviewing skills, clinical and research experiences, and exam preparation. Interactions with physicians, optometrists, dentists and other health care professionals provide a window into those professions; laboratory experiences and community service activities offer real-world experiences.

32 students from Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Florida arrived at UAB in June, having met the minimum grade and test requirements for admission into the program. Throughout June and July they developed their knowledge of healthcare in general and of UAB’s offerings in particular.

“SHEP has been so much more than shadowing experiences, clinical skill development, and lunch lectures,” wrote attendee Michael Matthews. “It’s been about finding a home here at UAB.”

Many other students echoed this sentiment. “Thank you so much for this incredible SHEP program!” wrote Adriana Green, another attendee. “I know I will be a better medical school applicant because of the amazing things you poured into me through this program.”

The students attending the SHEP program represented 12 universities, including: Alabama State University, Auburn University, Emory University, Gadsden State, Miles College, Tuskegee University, UAB, the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, University of Miami, Xavier University, Alabama A&M, and Troy University.

SHEP group picture