Jacqueline Tran's dream of becoming a doctor grew from a series of experiences that made her “fall in love” with the profession.
“The thought first crossed my mind when I was in middle school, when my grandmother’s ovarian cancer spread to her lungs,” Jacqueline said. “At that moment in time, my family and I knew that she wasn’t going to make it, and we all felt helpless. Her battle with cancer was my first inspiration. I wanted to be able to take charge and help people like her.”
By the time she arrived at UMass Dartmouth, Jacqueline wasn’t sure she still wanted to be a doctor—but she definitely wanted to focus on the sciences.
“When I read about the bioengineering program on the school website, it captured my interest right away,” she remembered. “It’s a combination of biology and math: an application of engineering principles to biology and medicine. I quickly changed my major to bioengineering on a pre-med track.”
Jacqueline entered UMass Medical School this fall as UMass Dartmouth’s first BaccMD scholar.
BaccMD: Pathway to med school
UMass Medical’s BaccMD program accepts UMass Dartmouth students as Medical Scholars during their undergraduate sophomore year. Once accepted, they attend summer enrichment programs to prepare for early decision acceptance to UMass Medical. The program was established to ensure a diverse student body with a focus on primary care and underserved communities.
“While in medical school, I want to be involved with the community as much as possible,” Jacqueline said. “I hope to travel to countries that have a shortage of physicians and be able to volunteer my skills as a medical student where I can.”
As part of UMass Dartmouth’s Pre-Medical/Pre-Health Advising Program, Jacqueline completed the pre-health professions seminar, required of all BaccMD hopefuls, to learn about the profession and to prepare to apply for the BaccMD pathway.
However, BaccMD is only one path to medical school.
Pre-Medical/Pre-Health Advising Program
UMass Dartmouth’s Pre-Medical/Pre-Health Advising Program prepares students who plan to attend medical school or want to pursue advanced study towards careers in dentistry, optometry, physical therapy, podiatry, veterinary science, and other health professions.
Students register for the program to gain access to advising, updates on courses, and information about health professions—plus invitations to meetings, enrichment seminars, and more.
Students who have already received a bachelor's degree may opt for UMassD’s Pre-Health Certificate Program.
Advisors in medical laboratory science, psychology, bioengineering, chemistry and at the Advising, Support & Planning Office help students plan their academic careers, advise on course selection, and track their progress. They suggest ways for students to gain professional experience—such as enrichment programs and research projects—that demonstrate a commitment to their field.
Advisors work closely with students during the professional school application process, providing committee letters of recommendations, application advising, and interviews.
Students can also become active in the Pre-Med/Pre-Health Student Organization.
Acceptance to med school & health professional programs
The advising program has had 13 students accepted into UMass Medical since 2010 with another 7 accepted to other medical schools such as Rochester, University of Michigan, Dartmouth, Eastern Virginia, Pennsylvania, and University of New England. Six students have been accepted to dental schools, and a host of others to various graduate health professional programs such as podiatry, optometry, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, pharmacy, and physical therapy.
Acceptance to medical school and other health professional programs is based, in part, on a student's overall academic performance and demonstrated leadership, group activities, and community service.
“Most programs are very competitive, so we encourage students to maintain a strong GPA, regardless of major,” said Prof. Eileen Carreiro-Lewandowski, Pre-Health Director and chair of the Medical Laboratory Science department.
Pre-med/pre-health undergraduates typically major in biochemistry, bioengineering, chemistry, medical laboratory science, or psychology.
“But we advise students to choose a major they would enjoy, no matter what their future plans: one that reflects their interests and passions,” said Carreiro-Lewandowski.
“Many choose a major in the sciences—including biology, clinical laboratory science, or physics—but any major is acceptable so long as you can complete the requirements for your preferred graduate program.”