Summer Medical Dental Education Program


Consider the UVA SMDEP!
June 4 – July 16, 2011

Clinical Experience at Mountainside (Assisted Living Facility)

UVA SMDEP is one of the twelve Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Summer Medical Dental Education Program sites.

Since 1984, the University of Virginia School of Medicine has operated an academic enrichment program for pre-medical students (formerly known as the Medical Academic Advancement Progam or MAAP). The program (currently known as the UVA SMDEP) is designed to give promising pre-medical students the opportunity to have additional educational experiences as well as exposure to clinical and research environments, to improve their competitiveness in the medical school application process and to enhance their retention in medical school.

Major accomplishments of the program include:

Over the 26 years of the program, 2819 have participated, of whom 583 have already obtained their M.D. degrees.  Twenty-four of the program alumni are medical school faculty members, including a former chairman of Ophthalmology, two assistant deans, an associate director for a residency program in medicine, and an assistant director for a residency program in Obstetrics and Gynecology.  Two of the program alumni are UVA School of Medicine faculty members and a third is on the UVA School of Nursing faculty.

Keith Warren, M.D. UVA ’88 (’84 program participant) Chair and Associate Professor of Opthalmology, University of Kansas School of Medicine LTC Michael Nelson, M.D., Ph.D., UVA ’93 (’85 program participant) Assistant Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics, Uniform Services University of the Health Sciences School of Medicine; Chief, Clinical Laboratory Immunology Research Secton, U.S. Army; Chief, U.S. Centralized Allergen Extract Lab; Chief, Allergy and Immunology Clinic, Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital
Crystal Gadegebeku, M.D., UVA ’91 (’87 program participant) Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Health System Robert Buckmire, M.D., UVA ’94 (’90 program participant) Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Ursulla Courtney, M.D., UVA ‘ 97(’91 program participant) Assistant Dean for Diversity, Assistant Professor of Family Medicine, University of Virginia Health System Susan Sloan, M.D. (‘ 93 program participant) Associate Residency Program Director, Assistant Professor Department of Internal Medicine, East Tennessee State University School of Medicine
Michael D. Moxley, M.D., UVA ’91 (’86 program participant)
Assistant Director, Residency Program in OB/GYN, Associate Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine
University of Virginia Health System
Rae L. Kennedy, M.D., UVA ’98 (’93 program participant)
Assistant Professor of Women’s Health, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Penn State College of Medicine

Eminent physicians and biomedical researchers who have served as “Distinguished Program Speakers” include: Sir John Kendrew (Nobel Laureate); Dr. Jerome Karle (Nobel Laureate); Dr. William Lipscomb (Nobel Laureate); Dr. David Satcher ( former Surgeon-General); Dr. Steven Schroeder (former President, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation); Dr. Robert Petersdorf (President Emeritus, Association of American Medical Colleges); Dr. Jordan Cohen (former President, Association of American Medical Colleges); Dr. Vivian Pinn (Director, NIH Office for Research on Women’s Health); Dr. Roscoe Moore (Assistant Surgeon General and Associate Director for Development Support and African Affairs); Dr. Thomas Hunter (former Dean, University of Virginia School of Medicine); Dr. Robert Carey (Dean Emeritus, University of Virginia School of Medicine); Dr. Donald Wilson (Dean Emeritus, University of Maryland School of Medicine); Dr. Haile Debas (former Dean, University of California San Francisco); Dr. Arthur Garson (Dean and Vice President, University of Virginia School of Medicine); and Dr. James Gavin (former President, Morehouse School of Medicine).

UVA SMDEP Essential Elements

  • To expose students to the “real world” of medicine through a clinical medicine lecture series by leading clinicians and researchers on a variety of topics including: the role of physicians in promoting good health, the fact and fiction surrounding addiction, sexually-transmitted diseases including HIV and AIDS, role of doctors; introduction to Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics, Geriatrics, Dermatology, Emergency Medicine, Radiation Oncology, and Endocrinology; cardiovascular diseases in the underserved population; cancer – currents status and future prospects; challenges and rewards of a career in Medicine; the human genome project; Medicine-vocation vs. career; bioterrorism; careers in biomedical research; and what students will need to learn in medical school besides medicine. In order to provide extensive opportunities for interaction with physicians, the students participate in a series entitled “Where Doctors Work” visiting clinical settings such as the radiology department, autopsy, cardiology clinic, an assisted living facility, primary care clinic, and general internal medicine clinics.
  • To provide academic enrichment involving the application of biology, chemistry, physics, and quantitative techniques to medicine, as well as enhancing students’ problem-solving, writing, reading comprehension, and other communication skills. Academic and personal counseling is provided by an associate dean, program counselor, and other professionals. A career development program directed toward exploration of the medical profession and an individualized education plan that will include identification of other appropriate summer experiences.
  • Simulated medical school interviews are conducted and the “dos” and “don’ts” of the medical school admissions process are presented in a special workshop. Participants attend workshops on financial planning, learning skills, test taking, time management, and stress management. There is a medical school recruitment fair during which representatives from medical schools meet the participants to describe their schools’ admission criteria, programs and support services.

The depth and breadth of the program, and the daily experiences it offers, provide students with a wealth of information and ideas that will make them more competitive candidates for medical school.

Facilities and Covered Expenses

Students will be housed at no charge on campus. They will also receive a stipend of $1,000 to cover meals, travel and basic living expenses.

Social Activities

Participants enjoy social activities planned with their input (i.e. a talent show). All students participating in the program can use any of the University of Virginia athletic facilities for a small or nominal fee and enjoy the school’s full roster of entertainment opportunities. Nearby, the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains offer hiking, camping and a host of outdoor activities. In addition are the Luray Caverns, the Grand Caverns and Natural Chimneys, Endless Caverns, Natural Bridge, the Skyline Caverns, Monticello, and Kings Dominion.


Matrix of UVA SMDEP Elements

Exposure to the “real world” of medicine through a clinical medicine lecture series by eminent clinicians and biomedical researchers. X
Provision of opportunities for interaction with physicians and dentists/Clinical Experience. X
Activities designed to improve students’ problem-solving, writing, reading comprehension, and other communication skills. X
Provision of academic and personal counseling. X
Mock medical school interviews. X
The “dos” and “don’ts” of medical school admissions process. X
Academic enrichment (application of biology, physics, chemistry, and quantitative methods in medicine). X
Workshops on financial planning, study skills, test taking, time management, stress management, and interviewing skills. X
Medical school recruitment fair. X
Social Activities: (e.g. cookouts, receptions, talent show) X
Access to university athletic facilities. X
Stipend to cover basic living expenses; meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) seven days a week, as well as your travel to and from the program X
Free housing on campus. X
Meal Plan available at university hospital cafeteria (optional) X


Student Selection Criteria

To be eligible for the UVA SMDEP, an applicant must:

  • be a freshman or sophomore college student
  • be a U.S. Citizen or hold a permanent resident visa
  • come from a disadvantaged background (i.e., economically disadvantaged background, racial and ethnic groups that have been historically underrepresented in medicine or from parts of the country such as rural areas where residents have been historically underrepresented in medicine)
  • have a minimum GPA of 2.50
  • submit a strong personal statement and strong letters of recommendation
  • demonstrate a serious interest in a medical career

How to Apply

Applicants interested in attending the UVA SMDEP 2011 should obtain an application on-line on November 1, 2010 at the following website:

Complete the application and submit as soon as possible.

For more information contact:

Mrs. Joyce Gray, Program Manager, SMDEP
University of Virginia School of Medicine, UVA SMDEP Office, P.O. Box 800446, HSC, Charlottesville, Virginia 22908 (434) 243-6165, email:


For those of you who are interested in hearing what past participants have to say about the program, please see the comments from participants in the paragraphs below (students’ names have been omitted due to confidentiality):

  • The program has definitely succeeded in clarifying any doubts about the medical field that I may have had. Most of all, it has shown me that there is a need for underrepresented minorities to be professionals in the health care system and that they are trying to make that pathway more accessible. It has also served as a personal support system to know that all 128 students involved in the program share the same vision as I do. Through this program, I’ve realized that becoming a medical doctor will be an obstacle course, but with preparation, dedication, and determination, it can and will be accomplished. Thank you for such wonderful lifelong experiences!
  • The true value of the program to me lies in the fact that everyone will have emerged with needed encouragement and with truly learning something about life.  Not only did I learn about medicine, learn about living with people from other socio-economic backgrounds, gain confidence, improve my self-discipline, and establish a useful contact [for future research], but I am also comforted that such a capable and influential foundation, as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, has taken the time, effort, and resources to sponsor such a program dedicated to truly helping students both with preparation for medical school and with living on with their lives despite whatever hardships they might have faced.
  • During my undergraduate years as a pre-med student, I was overwhelmed with the many tasks, which were required to get where I am now. It was like walking through a bed of clouds and not being able to see clearly what was on the other side. This program made the realities visible for me of theremaining tasks to prepare for the MCAT and to make it into the MD Promised Land. I am so grateful that I was given this opportunity to share in such a wonderful program. Thank you very much for this rare opportunity.
  • At some point in our lives, we experience an event that changes the way we view the world, life, and even ourselves. Whether it is a change for the better or for worse, it somehow sheds light on who we are as individuals, as well as shape the individual that we strive to become. The program is one such experience. Not only did the program provide intensive preparation for medical school, it brought me closer to a dream. That is, it has helped me realize that my goal of becoming a physician is not as far-fetched as I once imagined. In fact, I believe that I am as close as I have ever been to making my dream come true.
  • The program provided me with a wealth of information that has already influenced my decisions about my future. I have decided to reapply to medical school next year, due to the counsel and direction I received in the last month and one half. Unlike my undergraduate premedical advisor, the people associated with the program believe that success lay before me. I never doubted that advice was given with this future success in mind. . .The supportive environment in the program was most impressive to me. I cannot explain the feeling I received upon entering a room filled with minority students with similarly high aspirations. I appreciate the uniquenessof this experience and am aware of its rarity.
  • The most important thing I will carry with me is the feeling that people care. Never before have I felt so much encouragement from administrators and teachers. I can tell that everyone truly believes that we (students) will succeed if we continue to work hard. It feels great to know that there are people that are not only looking forward to our success but are helping us to achieve our dreams.
  • I am aware now that there are many avenues to medical school and although there will always exist a prototypical way that most students choose, there is no one ideal way. What one person perceives as ideal may not be so to another person for we are all different. As Dr. Roscoe Moore stated, “Being different doesn’t make you inferior, nor does it make you superior; it simply makes you unique.” I cannot find enough words to express my heartfelt appreciation for what this program has done for me and the sincerest gratitude to all the people that afforded me this wonderful opportunity. The strength in my conviction to pursue a career in medicine has been elevated to a new level. What once seemed like an unreachable dream has become a palpable goal. The program has shown me “The Promised Land” and equipped me with the tools and words of encouragement I need to reach this goal.
  • The program gave me the opportunity to see so many dedicated mentors who were ready to help me and guide me to my path to the M.D. Promised Land.