For more than a decade, the FIU community united behind one idea: South Florida needed a public medical school and FIU was best suited to fill that need. Earlier this year, faculty, staff, students, alumni and supporters celebrated the College of Medicine’s preliminary accreditation. Recruitment began immediately. The future of the program was now in the hands of students in search of medical education. Would they apply at FIU? Who would they be? Where would they come from?
The verdict is in. Although only 40 students will be admitted into the inaugural class, more than 1,000 students have applied in the first month. Half of the applicants are from Florida and a quarter of the total applicants are South Florida residents. Candidates include students from all the Ivy League schools.
“I am delighted with the number of applications we have received and the caliber of students who are applying,” said Dr. John Rock, founding dean of the College of Medicine. “This bodes well for the quality of students who will make up our inaugural class and the first-rate doctors who will graduate from our College of Medicine.”
Currently, Florida imports 80 percent of its doctors. FIU hopes to change that by graduating the next generation of doctors who will practice in the area. To meet this goal, the admissions committee will interview the top prospects in search of students who are sensitive to the needs of South Florida’s underserved communities.
“We are changing the way doctors are trained in our country,” said Dr. Sanford Markham, executive associate dean of student affairs for the College of Medicine. “We want students who share our vision.”
The College of Medicine is developing a neighborhood-based curriculum, NeighborhoodHELP (Health Education Learning Program) that reflects an innovative, 21st century approach to health care and medical education. In their second year, medical students will go out into the community to offer their services to families who would otherwise receive no or poor medical attention. They will follow members of the households for four years to track their health and bare witness to the complexities of medical care for the uninsured and under-insured (Florida leads the nation in uninsured adults).
The faculty’s vision is clear. The foundation for the College of Medicine has been set. Now medical students from across the country are standing in line to get in.
Acceptance letters will begin going out in October. Classes start in the fall of 2009.