July 19, 2017

Summer program builds ‘culture of health’

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SHPEP2SHPEP participants await final mock interviews.
This summer there are 73 college students participating in the University of Alabama at Birmingham Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP).

SHPEP is part of an effort by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that works to build a culture of health. The UAB SHPEP, developed from a partnership among the School of Medicine, School of Dentistry, School of Optometry and School of Health Professions, is a free six-week summer enrichment residential program for first- and second-year undergraduate students created to increase diversity in health professions by recruiting and preparing underrepresented minority and disadvantaged students for successful educational experiences and careers in health care.

“Overall, I think SHPEP is a great health profession program,” said Marie Alexandre, a participant in the SHPEP program this summer. “With numerous workshops, classes, seminars, scholarly lectures, hands-on labs, hands-on exercises and simulations, SHPEP helped me make the most of my time there.”

UAB is one of 13 institutions involved in the program that offers education opportunities in many areas, including instruction on health science topics, scientific writing and critical reasoning, clinical exposure and shadowing, community-based experiences, career development activities with one-on-one sessions, and mock interviews and simulated patient care experiences in numerous fields. Applicants interested in applying for SHPEP have to maintain a GPA of 2.5 or higher, be enrolled as a freshman or sophomore undergraduate student at a university or a community college, and not have previously participated in the program.

“The most rewarding thing about participating in the SHPEP program was meeting with SHPEP program co-director Dr. Marquita Hicks for a one-on-one pre-medical meeting,” said Alexandre. “During this meeting, I was able to ask questions and receive a lot of feedback about my grades, resume, volunteer hours and goals in life.

“Coming into SHPEP, I thought it required having a 4.0 GPA to get into professional school. SHPEP made me think deeper and showed me it’s about being a well-rounded person. My advice to people looking into joining the program is go for it!”

To apply for next year’s program or for more information on the program, visit www.shpep.org and choose UAB as one of the sites when prompted.