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Graduating medical students say BaccMD program provided key support early in medical journey

UMass Baccalaureate MD Pathway Program prepares undergrads for medical school

By Janjay Innis

UMass Chan Medical School Communications

May 31, 2022

When members of the T.H. Chan School of Medicine Class of 2022 graduate on Sunday, June 5, among them are two students who credit the UMass Baccalaureate MD Pathway Program for aiding them in finding their way.

“The program was an opportunity to pursue my dreams while being guided by individuals who knew the common pitfalls and challenges of underrepresented-in-medicine applicants,” said Rodney Bruno, a UMass Boston alumnus who matched at his top choice, Boston Medical Center, for residency. This is a full circle moment for Bruno who was born at Boston Medical Center.

Amberly Diep, a UMass Amherst grad who is the first in her family to attend graduate school, called the BaccMD program “a significant factor” in her success. Diep will do her residency at the University of California, Davis.

Bruno and Diep, who matriculated together, will work in OB-GYN programs at the respective hospitals.

The BaccMD program was launched 10 years ago for students from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds who hope to meet the health care needs of diverse patient populations in Massachusetts. The program helps prepare these students for successful matriculation to medical school. It is open to students at the undergraduate UMass campuses who are from racial or ethnic groups underrepresented in medicine in Massachusetts and nationally; who come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds; or who are first-generation college graduates.

Seeing the success of the program is extremely rewarding. Being able to be a part of the participant’s journey to achieve their goals is something special,” said Paul Charles, project coordinator for the T.H. Chan School of Medicine Office of Admissions and co-director of the BaccMD program.

Charles hailed mentorship as a key component to the program’s success and recognized the network of faculty, staff and students at UMass Chan who comprise the group of mentors that has helped participants like Bruno and Diep prepare to become health care professionals prepared to serve a diverse population of patients and needs.

“Moments like this make me feel proud that I had a small part in providing the guidance, support and advice that helped these well-deserving and academically talented students reach their potential,” said Robert Layne, MEd, assistant dean of outreach programs.

Layne thanked supporters of the outreach and pipeline programs for encouraging and motivating students to dream about careers and for being a resource for medical students.

“This ongoing involvement has proven to be a win-win for everyone who participates, because we are all learning from each other and every day we are learning something new that will benefit all of us,” he said.

Related UMass Chan news stories:
BaccMD graduate wants to serve marginalized populations, expand access to health care
Worcester Pipeline participant finds home at UMass Medical School
UMass Medical School welcomes School of Medicine Class of 2022
Summer Enrichment Program leads diverse students on path to medical school