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The Perelman School of Medicine on Sept. 30, 2019. Credit: Sukhmani Kaur

Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine has expanded its Penn Access Summer Scholars program to include five historically Black colleges and universities: Howard University, Morehouse College, Oakwood University, Spelman College, and Xavier University of Louisiana.

Launched in 2008, the PASS program is designed to increase the number of physicians from groups underrepresented in medicine. The program — which was formerly only offered to undergraduates at Penn, Princeton University, Haverford College, and Bryn Mawr College — includes two summers of research experience with the goal of preparing them for matriculation to medical school.

Aside from conducting research, students in the program also shadow physicians and visit local student-led health clinics while forming supportive relationships with peers, staff, and faculty.

“As the first medical school in the nation, and one that continues to shape the future of medicine, we are dedicated to attracting and training a diverse group of talented future physicians. The transformative PASS program is a vital part of those efforts,” said Dean of the Medical School J. Larry Jameson in an interview with Penn Medicine News.

PASS students also have the chance to be offered special linkage admission to the Perelman School of Medicine without an MCAT requirement. To be offered admission, applicants have to meet the school's academic and professional requirements and be approved by the admissions committee. 

86 students have participated in the program since its inception in 2008, 58 of whom have attended or are attending medical school and 51 of whom have enrolled at the Perelman School of Medicine. Currently, the Medical School has 28 students who matriculated from the PASS program, with 13 coming from HBCUs.

“PASS is not just about improving numbers, but empowering the education we provide and enriching the medical school experience for all of our students,” Perelman School of Medicine Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion Horace DeLisser told Penn Medicine News.