Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine (RowanSOM) proposes a National HCOP Academy to Support Careers in Osteopathic Medicine. The purpose of the HCOP Academy is to assist individuals from economically and educationally disadvantaged backgrounds to enter the field of osteopathic medicine by providing structured support activities at all stages of the educational pipeline. Needs to Be Addressed: Currently, there are physician shortages in HRSA-designated medically underserved and rural areas of the New Jersey. Research shows that medical students from economically and educationally disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to practice in medically underserved areas upon graduation, but significant barriers prevent many from pursing degrees in medicine. There is an urgent need for systemic changes in education to decrease the cost of medical education for economically disadvantaged students living in rural and underserved areas and to support their entry into and graduation from medical school. Proposed Services: The RowanSOM National HCOP Academy includes didactic and experiential training for high school, undergraduate, and medical students through six structured activities annually: the HCOP National Ambassadors Program, the HCOP Summer Explorers Program, the HCOP Saturday Academy Program, the HCOP Pre-matriculation Program, the HCOP Post-baccalaureate Program, and the HCOP Summer Research, Education and Training Experiences (CREATE) Program. Each program includes didactic training, experiential learning at clinical training sites, counseling and other support services, and stipend or scholarship support. Programs will be conducted in collaboration with a range of recruitment and experiential training partners, including an innovative collaboration between RowanSOM, Rowan College of South Jersey, and Rowan University to engage community college students into medical school. A key program in the National HCOP Academy is the HCOP Nat
ional Ambassadors Program, a longitudinal, integrated curriculum-based program designed to assist students from economically and educationally disadvantaged backgrounds in matriculating through the educational pipeline, achieving admissions requirements for the next level of their education, and ultimately completing a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Degree. Team-based program activities will be conducted collaboratively between participants at the high school, undergraduate, and medical student levels of the educational pipeline. The program will include intensive HCOP Service-Learning Curriculum, in-depth research into health inequities in the target area, and a capstone presentation at RowanSOMs annual Research Day Other HCOP programs will be targeted toward specific age brackets with the goal of advancing participants through the educational pipeline. For example, the HCOP Saturday Academy and Summer Explorers programs will prepare high school participants to be competitive applicants for pre-health college programs; the HCOP Post-baccalaureate program will prepare participants for medical school admission; and the HCOP Pre-matriculation and CREATE programs will prepare medical students to be competitive residency applicants and to graduate with DO degrees. Population Groups to be Served: Target populations for this project will consist of rising high school juniors/seniors, undergraduate health professions degree students, and osteopathic medical students, including underrepresented minorities from disadvantaged populations within these groups. The geographic catchment area for the project will consist of five counties in southern New Jersey: Atlantic, Camden, Cumberland, Gloucester, and Salem counties.