SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Qualified African American and Hispanic students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities now have a leg up on admission to LSU Health Shreveport School of Medicine.
That’s because the medical school and Southern University of Shreveport have signed a Memorandum of Understanding guaranteeing qualified students an interview.
In order to qualify, top students need to participate in an Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program (URAP), which is typically done in the summer. The students would also need a minimum of 80 hours of health care shadowing or comparable work experience and 80 hours of community service.
“The criteria for this are equal, if not more than for regular admission,” said LSU Health Shreveport School of Medicine Chancellor Dr. G.E. Ghali.
LSU Health Shreveport School of Medicine typically has a total of 150 spots with over 6,000 applicants, but this program will ensure minority students do not get overlooked, Dr. Ghali said.
“If I have 10 students in the class that are African American, I’m supposed to be happy? Well, that’s not enough; that’s not acceptable.”
Ghali said representation matters as studies show that a lot of Black patients have more trust with Black doctors and more Black doctors need to be hired. It can possibly lessen some of the health care disparity that is prevalent in the Black community.
“Even if I’m a resident and I finished medical school and I’m going to apply for a program somewhere and I look around as I’m interviewing and I don’t see anybody there that looks like me, I’m less opt to go that place,” Ghali said. “It’s very important for us, me as a chancellor, to make sure I’m hiring folks that can be role models for the residents and the students.”
SUSLA isn’t the only one who signed a MOU with LSU Health Shreveport School of Medicine. Grambling State University signed a similar agreement in October 2020 and Dillard University is expected to sign one in April. Southern has also signed similar agreements for its New Orleans and Baton Rouge campuses.
The Guaranteed Interview Program will take effect on July 1, 2021.