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A JAMP Update From Dr. Benjamin Nguyen, JAMP Council Chair
I am humbled and privileged to be the current JAMP (Joint Admission Medical Program) Council Chair for 2020-2022. As a nine years old refugee who arrived in Texas after the fall of Viet Nam in 1975, I received lots of assistance and mentorship to pursue my dream of being a physician. As someone who received government assistance when we first arrived in the U.S., I share some of the challenges faced by our JAMP students and relate to navigating the uneven playing field due to the economic disparity.
I have been involved with JAMP since 2010 and have served as the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School’s JAMP Council Member since 2015. I am thankful to work with so many like-minded individuals who strive to support and encourage a highly qualified and unique group of students in their pursuit of medicine. I have benefited by learning from my colleagues on the JAMP Council, the JAMP Faculty Directors (JFD), high school counselors and from the students whom I had the opportunities to mentor and had mentored me.
Established by the state of Texas legislature in 2001 and funded by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, JAMP has grown to include thirteen medical schools and sixty-eight public and private four-year undergraduate institutions. Since its inception, JAMP as of 2021 has graduated 654 physicians, with 61% going into primary care, and 65% with a TX medical license.
One of my goals as Chair of the JAMP Council is to engage with our JFDs to address their needs. I have established an Outreach and Recruitment ad-hoc committee which will work closely with our JFDs to reach out to local high school counselors, among other important initiatives. We will provide students with mentorship and resources in high school so they can be successful once they arrive in college. We hope to extend mentorship to middle schools, and perhaps one day, to elementary students as good habits can take years to perfect. We will accomplish this by reaching out to high school counselors and students via social media, multi-media, and virtual programs.
I have also set up a Retention ad-hoc committee within JAMP to ensure undergraduate students accepted into JAMP will successfully matriculate in medical school. The retention rate has improved tremendously since our initial class in 2007, with 84% of our JAMP undergraduates matriculating to medical schools over the last three years! The goals of the Retention Committee are to work closely with the JFD’s to provide mentorships, resources, and identify potential barriers (MCAT preparations, mental health issues, burn out, lack of support/mentorship) faced by these students. We hope to tap in the incredible human resources JAMP has, including peer mentors at the undergraduates, graduate, and post-graduate level.
We have accomplished a lot in the time I have served on the JAMP council including raising the MCAT requirement, increasing the retention of JAMP undergraduates, providing undergraduates healthcare insurance while attending the summer programs and making tweaks in our matriculating process to ensure equitability. With the assistance of JAMP administration, JAMP has continued to grow and prosper even during challenging times such as the current COVID-19 pandemic. I am thrilled and look forward to continuing close collaborations with my colleagues to recruit and educate compassionate and competent physicians to serve our state of Texas.
Benjamin Nguyen, M.D.
JAMP Council Chair
Professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at UT Southwestern Medical Center
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