MedAchieve Inspires Again

Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine Receives STEM Award for Fifth Year, Honoring Harlem Program for High School Students

August 15, 2023
MedAchieve high school students celebrating graduation.
MedAchieve high school students celebrating graduation.

Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine (TouroCOM) Harlem has received the 2023 Inspiring Programs in STEM Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine for its after-school program serving New York City high school students interested in careers in medicine or other health sciences fields.

The award marks the fifth year in a row TouroCOM has received the STEM award from the INSIGHT, the largest and oldest publication reporting on diversity and inclusion in higher education.

“We are honored to be recognized with this prestigious award, which acknowledges our commitment to encouraging underrepresented minorities (URM) to pursue and succeed in STEM fields,” said Dr. Nadege Dady, dean of student affairs at TouroCOM Harlem. “MedAchieve is a natural extension of TouroCOM’s mission, which is to increase the representation of URM students who can serve underserved communities, such as Harlem.”

Public Health and Disparities Taught

At MedAchieve, students are mentored one-on-one in lectures and labs by medical students who expose them to the principles of osteopathic medicine and other public health-related topics, like the COVD-19 global pandemic and healthcare disparities. The medical students work alongside their mentees, who provide guidance related to their current and future academic and career goals.

During the academic year 2022-2023, 93 students completed MedAchieve. Students attended weekly lectures and lab sessions with their medical student mentors alongside them. Sessions focused on such topics as anatomy, microbiology, genetics, public health and research. Lab sessions provided experience in microscopy, radiology, osteopathic manipulation, casting and splinting and vital signs, among other topics.

In the spring, a graduation ceremony was held where students received stethoscopes, white lab coats and diploma certificates. The first-year graduates (MedStart) were encouraged to return for the 2023-2024 year (MedExcel), after which they learned they will have the opportunity to interview for admission to TouroCOM’s DO or M.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies programs as well as other Touro health science graduate programs including pharmacy, dentistry, physician assistant, pathology assistant or clinical mental health counseling.

Most MedAchieve Grads Heading for Healthcare

At graduation, 96 percent of participants in an exit survey rated their MedAchieve experience as either “excellent” or “good”, 97 percent reported an intention to go to college, and at least 80 percent said they would apply to medical school or another healthcare field.

“I’m definitely interested in being a doctor. I want to do surgery,” said Emmanuel Chery, a recent graduate of Columbia Secondary School in Harlem, who recently completed his second year of MedAchieve. Chery is heading to Brown University’s Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME), which includes acceptance to the Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown after completion of the undergraduate degree.

Chery said he especially valued the discussions at MedAchieve about health disparities, and the opportunities to see first-hand the work he’ll be doing as a doctor.

“Whether we were examining real organs in a cadaver lab, performing the Heimlich maneuver or CPR on real dummies, or testing one another for reflexes, we got the opportunity not only to discuss medicine, but to experience and perform it firsthand,” said Chery. “Medicine can be daunting to a lot of people…programs like MedAchieve provide students with this preview in a unique, hands-on, and stimulating way.”

Since its founding in 2011, MedAchieve has grown and provided mentorship to approximately 765 students at 65 NYC high schools. While founded as a science enrichment program for students in the local Harlem community, it has attracted students from other underserved areas in New York City including the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn.