Gallup’s Dr. Renee Honeyfield has completed one of UNM’s most daunting programs – the Bachelor of Arts to Medical Doctor Degree (BA-MD) Program. Honeyfield, a Gallup High School graduate who entered UNM’s first BA-MD Degree Program class in 2006, graduated from UNM’s School of Medicine this month and will be an internal medicine resident at the Oregon Health & Science University.
UNM’s School of Medicine (SOM) created the BA-MD program eight years ago with support from the New Mexico State Legislature to recruit talented New Mexico high school seniors from across the state who show proclivity and passion for the health sciences. This innovative approach to growing native New Mexico physicians guides a diverse group of 28 high school seniors annually from throughout the state into a specialized undergraduate curriculum at UNM.
Those students who meet specific academic standards through UNM undergraduate school earn a reserved seat in UNM’s nationally ranked School of Medicine. There, students intent on practicing in the state embark on a medical school curriculum and training focused on the particular healthcare needs of New Mexicans. Ultimately the program was developed to serve underrepresented/underserved New Mexico communities.
“It’s critical that we continue to recognize and nurture the academic talent in our smaller towns and communities, while developing practicing physicians in underserved areas of our state,” says BA-MD Executive Director Dr. Valerie Romero-Leggott, UNM Health Sciences Center vice chancellor for diversity.