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Alonda Thomas

FAMU and FAU Collaborate on New Medical Scholars Program (MSP)

First Cohort of FAMU Freshmen Provisionally Accepted into FAU Medical School

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (September 4, 2013) – Florida A&M University (FAMU) has partnered with the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) to establish the FAMU/FAU Medical Scholars Program (MSP). Students admitted into the program will be offered a provisional acceptance to FAU’s College of Medicine provided that they successfully complete the MSP and satisfy requirements of the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC), American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) and FAU’s College of Medicine.

The first cohort of four freshmen students includes Christoria H. Cowans of Lake Worth, Fla.; Raphaelle A. Lazarre of Clermont, Fla.; Ugoma C. Onubogo of Tallahassee, Fla.; and Michelle N. Wilson of Miami, Fla.

Additionally, FAMU will offer a second pre-medical track (FAMU MSP Track-II) for students to receive similar training modeled after the FAMU-FAU MSP. The nine students in the FAMU MSP Track-II includes Nickyjeanna R. Aime of Wellington, Fla.; Charnee N. Davis of Stone Mountain, Ga.; Bernae A. Dorsett of Miramar, Fla.; Amani N. Jones of Ocoee, Fla.; Krista J. Labelle of Orlando, Fla.; Ellen S. Peterson of Tallahassee, Fla.; Miranda L. Reed of Fort Worth, Texas; Robert T. Seniors, III of Tallahassee, Fla.; and Nyeja S. Warner of Stone Mountain, Ga. These students will have the option to apply to any medical school in the United States.

“We are extremely excited for our students to have the opportunity to receive focused training to prepare them for medical school at such an early stage in their matriculation at FAMU,” said Maurice Edington, Ph.D., dean of the College of Science and Technology. “This program will provide our students with a jump start on the competition as they hone their skills in the medical field.” 

The goal of the program is to successfully equip students, starting as freshmen, with the tools and knowledge necessary to enter medical school. Academically successful high school students with a strong desire to pursue a career in medicine and who made a sound decision to attend FAMU were recruited for the program. The program will introduce undergraduate pre-medical students to professionalism and problem-based learning (PBL) in order to stimulate independent and self-directed learning as well as develop problem solving skills, team building, communication and leadership skills.

Michael J.L. Smith, Dr.P.H., M.P.H., FAMU’s coordinator of academic programs, Division of Academic Affairs and co-coordinator of the FAMU/FAU MSP, is confident that the program will raise the bar for excellence at FAMU.

“We expect this new program to return something significant to Florida A&M University in terms of an increase in the number of our students admitted to medical school,” said Smith. “We set high standards for the program, which are consistent with what it takes to be competitive for medical school.”

Students must maintain a 3.5 grade point average and must take an additional MSP course each semester for four years that will focus on professionalism, ethics, problem-based learning and inter-professional education. The program also requires students to satisfy extracurricular requirements, such as physician shadowing and community service.

Lazarre, a recent graduate of Dr. Phillips High School in the Orlando, Fla. area, is excited about the opportunity to be around students who share her passion for medicine. She is a recipient of FAMU’s Distinguished Scholars Award.

“I’m looking forward to being around students that are like-minded,” she said. “I originally wanted to be a dancer, but my second passion is medicine and the program was a really big opportunity for me to pursue it. It’s good that we’re getting a head start on training, case studies and physician shadowing.”

Julie C. Servoss, M.D., M.P.H, associate dean for Diversity, Cultural and Student Affairs at the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine at FAU and co-coordinator of the FAMU/FAU MSP, is pleased to collaborate with FAMU in an effort to expand the role of minorities in the medical field.

“Partnering with FAMU, a historically black university, was an important opportunity to provide a pipeline to recruit underrepresented minorities to medical school and ultimately to our healthcare workforce,” said Servoss. “Educating and training these outstanding students is critical to helping address our physician shortage in Florida and providing first-rate medical care among our underserved populations. This unique program provides numerous benefits and vital networking opportunities to ensure that these students will be successful.”

For more information about the program, contact Dr. Michael J.L. Smith at (850) 599-8503 or


Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University, with an annual economic impact of $6.3 billion, serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students at sites throughout its six-county service region in southeast Florida. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University is placing special focus on the rapid development of three signature themes – marine and coastal issues, biotechnology and contemporary societal challenges – which provide opportunities for faculty and students to build upon FAU’s existing strengths in research and scholarship. For more information, visit

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