What’s normally a rite of passage for medical students has become a symbol of achievement for 33 Central High School juniors who are one step closer to pursuing a career in the medical field.
The Central High School Pre-Medical Magnet Program, which launched in the fall semester of 2022, gives west Louisville students an up-close and personal experience with a career in medicine. Students are able to shadow UofL doctors during rounds at UofL Health – UofL Hospital, scrub into operating rooms and witness surgeries, and also get practice performing simpler procedures, like sutures through this immersive curriculum.
With every white coat placed on the shoulders of a student, this ceremony serves as a reminder of goals that can be fulfilled. This historic partnership connects UofL Health, Central High School, UofL School of Medicine and the Falls City Medical Society to encourage the future generation towards a career in the medical field.
“I’m so proud of these students and I know that programs like this work. We already have and will continue to see the changes it makes to our community,” said Edward Miller, MD, assistant professor in the UofL Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women’s Health and a physician with UofL Physicians – OB/GYN & Women’s Health. “We’ve already connected dozens of students to meet, work with and befriend doctors, nurses and so many more health care professionals, and eventually that number will turn to hundreds, then thousands. These students will no longer be able to say that they have never seen a doctor that looks like them.”
As juniors in this program, these students rotated through each of the core medical clerkships from OB/GYN to emergency medicine in an effort to learn which field best suits them. In their senior year, they’ll get to choose which area of medicine they wish to pursue a future in and have one-on-one mentorship with leaders in those specialties.
“I am in awe of the determination and dedication of the students at Central High School and the eagerness of our faculty physicians to give of their time and talents to showcase to them the wonderful world of medicine,” said Toni Ganzel, dean of the UofL School of Medicine. “Part of our mission is to educate the next generation of physicians and contribute to the health and wellness of the community—locally, regionally, nationally and globally. Thanks to partnerships like this driven by our Office of Community Engagement and Diversity, our faculty physicians have the chance to instill a love for medicine early in a student’s academic career and welcome a new cohort of medical professionals.”
The pre-medical pipeline program offers educational opportunities, college credit and hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships. At the end, students will be equipped with knowledge, resources and mentorship to lead the change for this community.
“This program is an extension of the commitment to transform the health of our community by engaging with the next generation of health care professionals,” said Tom Miller, UofL Health CEO. “We want to share our passion to care for people, hoping to inspire more students to consider nursing, medical school and other health careers at UofL Health.”
Students in the Central High School Magnet Career Academy are selected for admission through a competitive process with over 100 applicants that includes achievement test scores, grade point average, personal essays and other teacher recommendations. Central has the second-highest number of Governor’s Scholars in the district. Central is one of two high schools in Kentucky to offer Montessori education.
“Donning a white coat holds special significance for our students,” said Dr. Marty Pollio, JCPS Superintendent. “Being viewed as a member of the UofL Health team is a tremendous opportunity as our students get hands on experience with the doctors and other health care professionals whose footsteps many of them hope to follow.”
The white coats, presented to the 33 juniors at UofL’s Health Sciences Center on Feb. 26, were provided by UofL Health. The pre-medical magnet program starts accepting applicants in a student’s high school freshman year. For more information on how to apply, click here.