The University of New Mexico School of Medicine is getting national recognition for its work to boost higher education achievement among Latino students, while addressing the state’s physician shortage.
Excelencia in Education, a nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating Latino student success in higher education, has named UNM’s Combined BA/MD Program a finalist for its annual Examples of Excelencia award.
The award honors evidence-based programs that effectively boost Latino enrollment, performance and graduation. Excelencia in Education will recognize national finalists and announce winners at an event in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 22.
“UNM’s Combined BA/MD Degree Program is a prime example of the Health Sciences Center’s commitment to educational achievement for a diverse group of students,” said Valerie Romero-Leggott, MD, vice chancellor for diversity at the UNM Health Sciences Center. “We are honored to be considered for this prestigious award.”
The BA/MD Program is designed to help address the physician shortage in New Mexico by assembling a class of diverse students who are committed to serving rural and underserved New Mexico communities, Romero-Leggott said. Students from across the state enter the program as freshmen, and after successfully completing a specialized curriculum in the UNM College of Arts and Sciences, they earn a reserved seat in UNM’s medical school.
“Programming within the BA/MD program promotes the importance of a well-educated and diverse population and seeks to capture and recognize the talents of this majority-minority state,” Romero-Leggott said. “We have no doubt that our BA/MD students will change the health care workforce landscape in New Mexico and beyond. “
Celebrating its 10th year, Examples of Excelencia was inspired by then-First Lady Hillary Clinton’s 1999 Convening on Latino Youth, a White House gathering that resulted in the publication “What Works for Latino Youth.” To mark this year’s anniversary, Clinton has produced a video tribute that will be shown at Tuesday’s event.
Selected programs from this year's finalists will be published in the 2015 edition of “What Works for Latino Student Success in Higher Education.”