WASHINGTON, PA (Dec. 4, 2018)—A partnership between Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) and Sidney Kimmel Medical College (SKMC) at Thomas Jefferson University has created an opportunity for W&J students to start medical school after their junior year – and they don’t have to be science majors to do it.
Known as the Integrated Program in Human Health, the partnership creates a unique opportunity for students with majors outside of the natural sciences to attend medical school. Thomas Jefferson University initiated the partnership as part of the University’s efforts to bring more liberal arts students into their medical college.
“SKMC is looking for students who can think critically from multiple perspectives and can draw on knowledge from the natural sciences, the social sciences, the humanities, and the arts to heal people. In a nutshell, they are looking for the W&J student,” said W&J Professor of Chemistry and co-developer of the program Steven Malinak, Ph.D.
“These students demonstrate their ability to think empirically as a natural scientist by completing pre-health requirements in chemistry, biology, and physics, but by majoring in a discipline outside of the natural sciences they show that they are not one-dimensional thinkers. They can bring different perspectives to complicated problems, and excel in doing so. It is this type of integrated thinking that SKMC is looking for in their medical students.”
Students apply to the program during their second year at W&J. If accepted into the program, these W&J2 Fellows spend three years at W&J before matriculating to Sidney Kimmel Medical College for a four-year program at Thomas Jefferson University.
Students receive numerous benefits through the Integrated Program in Human Health. Not only are the W&J2 Fellows conditionally accepted to medical school after only three semesters of undergraduate work, but SKMC waives the MCAT requirement and provides a summer bridge program to ease their transition into medical school.
“Basically, our students are accepted into this program on the basis of good grades and our recommendation. This is a real testament to our reputation,” Malinak said. W&J also provides the opportunity for these students to take two summer courses at W&J at no additional tuition charge to allow the students to complete their major and other requirements at W&J within three years. Students transfer back some required courses and credit hours from their first year at SKMC to complete their Bachelor’s degree.
Thomas Jefferson University and W&J have an intertwined history, as both have ties to the former Jefferson College that joined with Washington College to form W&J.
“There’s an historical link between these institutions. SKMC knows our reputation and the strength of our pre-health program,” Dr. Malinak said. “Their philosophy is that healing a human being requires much more than simply treating an illness. It’s a liberal arts perspective on medicine.”
With the program’s introduction in 2016, this first class to benefit from the partnership are preparing to begin at Thomas Jefferson University in the fall. Mia Brownfield (mathematics major), Aaron Kendrick (economics), and Maria Reynolds (Spanish) are the three members of the inaugural class—and each is excited for the next step.
“I think the W&J liberal arts education will benefit me a lot in terms of being able to think more abstractly and do more creative thinking. Some people only major in science and don’t really touch humanities. In the end, you don’t really learn to talk to people. You might be really good at science, but you miss some social aspects that come into medicine,” Aaron said. “I think having more breadth in my study will definitely help as I eventually become a clinician and work with patients.”
About Washington & Jefferson College
Washington & Jefferson College, located in Washington, Pa., is a selective liberal arts college founded in 1781. Committed to providing each of its students with the highest-quality undergraduate education available, W&J offers a traditional arts and sciences curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary study and independent study work. For more information about W&J, visit www.washjeff.edu, or call 888-W-AND-JAY.