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Inaugural Post Baccalaureate Students Complete Program

Cooper Medical School of Rowan University (CMSRU) recently honored the first cohort of students to complete its Post Baccalaureate in Advanced Premedical Studies program. Twelve students completed the program requirements and earned a certificate for the 27 credit hybrid program.

CMSRU’s Post Baccalaureate program, which was developed for those who are interested in pursuing health care professions, has exhibited early signs of success. Three students who were in the first cohort have already gone on to medical school and a number of other students have begun applications to professional schools.

During a special reception honoring the graduates, Jocelyn Mitchell-Williams, MD, PhD, Associate Dean of Diversity & Community Affairs, made note of the significant efforts they put into completing the program.

“It takes a special kind of person to be the first cohort or the ‘pioneers’ of an academic program. Each of you has worked incredibly hard to get to this point and we are eager to see where your paths will lead,” Mitchell-Williams noted.

Students who enrolled in the Post Baccalaureate program were all science majors who primarily originated from NJ, but some students came from as far as New York and Chester County, Pennsylvania. Besides a rigorous academic curriculum, active learning group sessions and MCAT preparation, students learned suturing skills, participated in mock interview sessions, standardized patient interaction sessions and crisis resource management in CMSRU’s simulation center.

Roberto Gonzalez, one of the graduates, remarked on the strengths of the program.

“My time spent as a student in the Post Baccalaureate program at CMSRU has been pivotal to my personal transformation and academic growth. The fast paced, medical-based curriculum has been an exciting but challenging way to prepare for the rigors of medical school that lie ahead of me. I'm looking forward to utilizing and exercising the knowledge, skills and wisdom I’ve gained while at CMRSU as I continue through my journey toward a rewarding career in medicine,” said Gonzalez.

Seven students qualified for funding from CMSRU’s Pathways to Success Program (PTS), supported through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Health Careers Opportunity Professional (HCOP). As a result of this federal funding, these students were able to pursue the program and receive a stipend. This funding helped them devote the appropriate time and resources to academics, with the ultimate goal of moving on to a health professional school.

Salima Mostafa, a recipient of HCOP funds, shared the benefits of the HRSA funding, as well as the challenges of the program.

“The Post Baccalaureate program at CMSRU was exactly what I needed. Coming into the program as a non-traditional student, I thought this program might cost too much or that the classes might be too hard for me to juggle (along with a full time job). But I feel extremely lucky to have received a stipend and built a strong support network with administrative professionals and the professors. CMSRU’s approach has helped me achieve a great GPA and stay on course throughout the program.”

About CMSRU
CMSRU was established in June 2009 through a partnership between Rowan University and The Cooper Health System and is located in Camden, NJ. The first new medical school in New Jersey in over 35 years, CMSRU officially opened in July 2012 and its charter class enrolled in August 2012. CMSRU’s inaugural commencement was held in May 2016 and the school earned full accreditation from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education for the maximum five years in June 2016.

About Post Baccalaureate Program
The Post Baccalaureate in Advanced Premedical Studies is a flexible academic enhancement program offered through Cooper Medical School of Rowan University. Courses are led by expert faculty and build upon the knowledge base of the premedical core sequence from an undergraduate degree, incorporating high-level problem solving and teamwork. Students engage in a fast-paced hybrid curriculum that combines online sessions with active learning modalities, strengthening the learning skills they will need in order to excel in medical school.

About Pathways to Success
CMSRU’s Pathways to Success program was formed in 2015 and is funded through a grant by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Health Careers Opportunity Program (HCOP). In the fall of 2015, CMSRU established a college and university pipeline consortium, with representation from Rowan University, Rutgers University-Camden, Camden County Community College, Rowan College at Burlington County and Cumberland County Community College. CMSRU collaborates with these institutions to recruit and support eligible students interested in CMSRU's Premedical Urban Leaders Summer Enrichment (PULSE), post-baccalaureate and pre-matriculation programs (UMED).