New med school impacts Southern students

Following the announcement that Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences will open a new medical school inJoplin in 2017, students and faculty members from the Missouri Southern health sciences department have began to gear up for the future.

After signing a partnership agreement with KCUMB in November 2014, Southern has given students from the pre-med program the opportunity to begin their higher education at the new medical school before completing their undergraduate work at Southern.

“For the students who know this is exactly what they want to do, this [partnership program] is a great option,” said Katie Stephenson, junior biology/pre-med major. “Honestly, if I could go back [to the start of my college education], it would be a wonderful option.”

According to Tia Strait, dean of the school of health sciences, undergraduate students attending specified institutions with exceptional pre-med programs — such as Missouri Southern — can apply for admission to the medical school at the end of their sophomore year. With this arrangement in place, Strait believes there will be an increase in the number of students enrolled in Southern’s pre-med program.

“We will see many students seek to start their higher education during their time at Missouri Southern,” said Strait. “Incoming freshmen will have the opportunity to work with their advisers to prepare to be a part of the partner program. If they meet specified qualifications and are recommended by the pre-medical committee here on our campus, then at the end of their sophomore year, those students will be accepted and will have a reserved seat in the medical school.”

After completing their junior year, students in the partnership program will actually forgo their senior year of undergraduate course work at Southern and will begin their first year of med school.

Once they finish their first year at the medical school, they will transfer that course work back to Southern to receive their bachelor’s degree — effectively bypassing a year of undergraduate course work.

“The beauty of that, as well, is that they don’t have to take the [Medical College Admission Test] if they go through our partner program,” said Strait.

Students who wish to enroll through the partner program will be considered based on the following:

minimum ACT score of 28

positive academic performance throughout their freshman and sophomore years

community service

knowledge of and dedication to the field of osteopathic medicine

undergraduate and high school activities

Students must also maintain an overall GPA of 3.25 and a science GPA of 3.5 in order to remain in the program.

“I think this partner program is going to be really enticing for a lot of good students,” said Strait.