Winkleby Lab In the Prevention Research Center

College and Health Options: Ideas Creating Excellence (CHOICE)

The mission of the Stanford Medical Youth Science Program (SMYSP) is to promote the representation of ethnic minority and low-income groups in the health professions, and enhance the health and well being of such groups through community outreach, education, training, and research.

     The students who take part in SMYSP programs come from all walks of life but share three common characteristics: poverty, intelligence, and a desire to work in medicine and other health careers. These Northern California students are from struggling families in the rural Central Valley, from the inner cities, and from new immigrant communities. Many students have experienced homelessness, foster care, and gang involvement. Now in its 14th year, SMYSP is realizing its goal to increase the number of students from these backgrounds who pursue a college education and a career in health.

     After 13 years of growth and success, SMYSP is entering a new stage in its development. This document reflects our thoughts about how to best ensure the continuity of the SMYSP concept and how to most effectively extend its philosophy to influence the broader academic environment. It is our belief that expanding outreach to low-income students through special two day workshops and adapting the SMYSP model to other university campuses will prove the most effective ways to sustain SMYSP, establish support for related teaching and educational efforts, and provide a strong academic connection between SMYSP programs, the Stanford School of Medicine, and the community of health care practitioners in California. Our goal is to develop an integrated program for diversity in medicine that links Stanford University and the University of California in pursuit of a common mission. This initiative will become a focal point for new and existing programs that seek to enhance the health and well being of underserved Americans and ensure that underprivileged youth are given the educational opportunities they need to become health professionals.

     We are requesting a three-year grant, from January 1, 2001 through December 30, 2003, to support the initial phase of a collaborative partnership with the University of California at San Diego Medical School and the replication of the Stanford-based CHOICE (College and Health Options: Ideas Creating Excellence) program at thirteen rural high schools in the San Joaquin Valley.


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