A partnership between OCH Regional Medical Center and Mississippi State University’s College of Arts & Sciences was announced at a ribbon cutting Wednesday morning for the College’s new Dr. A Randle & Marilyn W. White Pre-Med Advisory Office.
The Office, which is named after MSU alumni and Greenwood physician Dr. White and his wife, is located inside Harned Hall. This new resource allows students in any of the University’s eight colleges who are in pursuit of medical school the opportunity to receive advising to help them reach their goals.
“This center further emphasizes our focus on helping young people make decisions to see if this is what they truly want to do and gives them sound advice and counsel to help prepare them for medical school,” said Mississippi State University President Dr. Mark Keenum.
In July, OCH Regional Medical Center Administration presented a plan to the Board of Trustees to help further the growth of the Advisory Office. The Board voted unanimously to give $5,000 for five years for a total of $25,000 for MCAT prep courses to help pay for the course instructor, print materials, and other supplies. In addition, OCH will give $10,000 each year over the next five years for a total of $50,000 to award scholarships to junior and senior pre-medical students with financial need. The funding must be used to defray the costs of preparing for and taking the MCAT or applying to and visiting medical schools.
“We see this as planting a seed in students’ lives as they face the anxiety of preparing for and applying for medical school and a long road with many choices throughout the process. We hope by participating in this program we’re able to relieve some of that anxiety from a financial standpoint. Taking the MCAT is a passage these students must go through to get to the next point, and we’re so pleased to be a part of it,” said OCH Regional Medical Center Administrator/CEO Richard Hilton.
As a nephrologist for more than 40 years, Dr. White said admittance into medical school is a much more complicated process than when he was a student.
“There’s no longer just the MCAT and the grades, but now, students must participate in shadowing programs and have community service hours. I’m so proud that we have this place where students can get guidance and support,” said Dr. White. “They can also be told if a door closes over here, maybe we can open another over there. Don’t give up. You can do it. This can happen,” he continued.
Dr. White, as well as Dr. Keenum, thanked the Medical Center for its support by providing scholarships to students.
“Helping students prepare to take the MCAT is such an important part of them getting into medical school. We have a wonderful relationship with the hospital, and that’s something we really cherish,” stated Dr. Keenum.
“We’re a different hospital because of the presence of Mississippi State University, not only from an education standpoint but also from an economic and development standpoint. If we recruit a doctor who attended Mississippi State and they bleed maroon, and the spouse also attended Mississippi State, that’s a double win on redirecting them back here to Starkville,” said Hilton, adding that the Medical Center plans to be a part of this program for the long term.