Clovis High School Grad Earns Medical Degree in Seven Years

ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Clovis native John Tranchida completed one of UNM’s most daunting programs – the Bachelor of Arts to Doctor of Medicine Degree (BA/MD) Program – in just seven years to earn his medical degree this May. Tranchida entered UNM’s first Bachelor of Arts to Doctor of Medicine (BA/MD) Degree Program class in 2006 and completed his undergraduate work in just three years.

UNM’s School of Medicine ( SOM) created the program seven 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.

Tranchida, who will perform a year’s residency in internal medicine at UNM before heading to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota for an anesthesia internship, credits his high school anatomy and physiology teacher for developing his keen interest in medicine. “I’m lucky to have discovered my medical interests at Clovis High School and then connect with this combined-degree program at UNM,” Tranchida offers. “I’m excited about continuing my education and training, and eventually returning to live and work around my family and friends. New Mexico can always use another anesthesiologist.”

“It’s critical that we continue to recognize and nurture the academic talent in our small 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.

“The very things that attract people to New Mexico, our rural state and cultural diversity, challenge us to provide adequate medical care in the far reaches of the state,” adds Paul Roth, M.D., UNM Chancellor for Health Sciences and School of Medicine Dean. “With generous support from the state legislature, the BA/MD Program will continue to support aspiring physicians in underserved areas to pursue an exceptional education at UNM and return to their communities to practice medicine.

UNM BA/MD FACTS

Ø Program admitted first freshman class of 30 in 2006

Ø Program has accepted nearly 26 students since 2006 – 222 NM residents (99 percent); four Navajo Nation residents (1 percent)

Ø 127 Female Students (56 percent); 99 Male (44 percent)

Ø 153 Rural Students (68 percent); 73 Urban (32 percent)

Ø 99 Hispanic/Latino Students (43 percent); 53 Non-Hispanic White (24 percent); 32 Native American Students (14 percent); 27 Asian/Pacific Islander (12 percent); 10 African American (five percent); 5 not specified (2 percent)

For more information on UNM’s BA/MD Program, visithttp://hsc.unm.edu/som/combinedbamd/.