MedEdits | Medical School Admissions Consulting

Friday, July 30, 2010

Mount Sinai Humanities and Medicine Program (HuMed)

By Jessica Freedman, MD, MedEdits

An excellent article in the New York Times today discusses the Mount Sinai Humanities and Medicine Program (HuMed). This program allows students "from top liberal arts colleges and research universities" to gain early acceptance to the Mount Sinai School of Medicine when they are sophomores in college, two years before they actually begin their medical studies. If admitted, these students are not required to take some major hard science prerequisites (including organic chemistry) or the MCAT. In fact, they are required to pursue a humanities or social sciences major. This article was based on a study written by Drs. David Muller and Nathan Kase that is published in the August issue of Academic Medicine.

As a former faculty member at Mount Sinai, the aspect of this program that concerns me most is that some students enrolled in the program may not be fully committed to the practice of medicine. Interestingly, specific data for the numbers of students who took "nonscholarly leaves of absence for academic or personal reasons" was not revealed but the article did state the following:

"More troubling is the HuMed group's significantly higher rate of nonscholarly leave of absence. This may indicate that a very small number of students struggle academically and require leave before returning to school, or are unsure of their career choice and find their uncertainty compounded by the demanding medical school curriculum."

Based on my own work with medical students who took part in the HuMed program, they are all exceedingly bright and motivated and clearly had the academic potential to succeed in medicine and other disciplines. However, I did question, at times, whether they were as committed to the practice to medicine as their peers who had taken a traditional path to medical school.

Click Here to read the article in Academic Medicine.

Click Here to read the NYT article.