September 29, 2005

Contact: Luke Frank, Senior Public Affairs Representative,505/272-3679; 505/907-9525 (cell)

ALBUQUERQUE, NM The tracks are laid for New Mexico high school seniors who can demonstrate strong academic achievement and a desire to practice medicine in New Mexico .

The BA/MD program, a partnership program between the UNM School of Medicine and the College of Arts & Sciences, will help to recruit and retain New Mexico health practitioners in the state, according to Paul Roth, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine and Interim Vice President for Health Sciences at UNM.

This innovative approach to growing native New Mexican physicians will shepherd 25 qualified, culturally diverse students annually from throughout the state into a progressive undergraduate curriculum and, pending academic performance, an automatic reserved seat in UNM's nationally ranked School of Medicine .

"The very things that attract people to New Mexico , our rural nature and cultural diversity, challenge us to provide adequate medical care in the far reaches of the state," Roth remarks. "With the generous support of the State Legislature, the BA/MD program will support aspiring physicians in remote areas to pursue an exceptional education at UNM and return to their communities to practice medicine."

I n addition to the specialized enrollment and curricula, the program offers scholarships and financial aid programs, specialized advising and tutoring, faculty and community mentoring and other student activities and support services.

UNM and School of Medicine representatives will be visiting New Mexico high schools during the fall semester to introduce the program and identify potential candidates. The application deadline for the new BA/MD program is December 1, 2005 , with the first class beginning in fall 2006.

"A key component to this program's success is support from whole communities not just family support," imparts Program Director Valerie Romero-Leggott, M.D. "From local civic and community leaders and area physicians to high school teachers and counselors, we want to recognize and nurture the real academic talent in our small towns, while developing practicing physicians in underserved areas of New Mexico."

For more information on UNM's new combined degree program, visit http://hsc.unm.edu/SOM/CombinedBAMD or call 800/225-5866, option 3. In Albuquerque , call 277-2260.

The University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center provides added value to health care through leadership in providing innovative, collaborative education; advancing frontiers of science through research critical to the future of health care; delivering health care services that are at the forefront of science; and facilitating partnerships with public and private biomedical and health enterprises.