Preparing Young People

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A successful health care youth mentorship program that taps into educational strengths at the University’s Coral Gables and Miller School campuses continues to expand, thanks to innovative efforts overseen by Thomas J. LeBlanc, executive vice president and provost, and Pascal J. Goldschmidt, executive vice president for medical affairs and dean of the Miller School of Medicine.

Known as the Miami Model for Health Professions Education, the initiative seeks to prepare high school and college students from disadvantaged backgrounds to successfully pursue a broad array of health care professions, including that of physician.

Sheri Keitz, associate dean for faculty diversity and development at the Miller School of Medicine, and John Barker, assistant dean of undergraduate education for the Office of Academic Enhancement, will jointly lead this collaboration. Working with them are Bob Hernandez, senior associate dean for medical administration, and the Miller School’s medical education team.
The Miami Model for Health Professions Education builds upon the lifelong work of Astrid Mack, former associate dean for minority affairs at the Miller School. Mack played a pivotal role in helping hundreds of disadvantaged youths to secure productive health care careers.

In their quest to take the fruits of Mack’s efforts to new heights, Keitz and Barker will be aided by operational funding obtained by the Miller School from the federal Health Resources Services Administration.

The Miami Model for Health Professions Education will prepare students from disadvantaged backgrounds to successfully compete for admission and graduation at allied and health professions schools. In past years the program has had an amazing success rate of 90 percent, with 60 percent of the participants going on to medical school and 30 percent continuing to various health professional programs.

An additional objective is to reach out to disadvantaged youth who may not be aware of the broad spectrum of vocational opportunities afforded by the health care profession. This outreach effort will be facilitated through partnerships that have been established with several local schools and community-based organizations.

The Miami Model for Health Professions Education will also offer a sequence of initiatives from the high school to the undergraduate level designed to enable more disadvantaged students to progress from one stage of the health care education continuum to the next.

Additional information can be obtained through the Office of Academic Enhancement Web site at or by calling 305-284-3187. The Miller School of Medicine’s Office of Minority Affairs Web site is; the telephone number is 305-243-5998.

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