On many Saturdays, students from several high schools in Los Angeles who are participants in Med-COR meet for tutoring in math, science and English, and for SAT preparation. They also meet physicians and other medical professionals who talk to them about their career experiences.
These Saturday sessions give the participants in Med-COR — which stands for medical counseling, organizing and recruiting — academic enrichment and strive to inspire them to pursue a career in the health professions. Launched in 1970, Med-COR is one of the signature programs that receives funding from the Good Neighbors Campaign, and some of the students were on hand recently during the Oktoberfest event at HSC that helps draw attention to Good Neighbors.
Originally created as a partnership between the Keck School of Medicine of USC and Los Angeles Unified School District, Med-COR was designed to address the fact that minority students, and especially those from neighboring high schools, are traditionally underrepresented among the student body at the medical school and in other health-related programs.
In the early days, the program assisted more than 1,000 students from 34 high schools and 43 middle schools in the Los Angeles area. As a result of budget cuts, the program has been reduced to four medical magnet high schools, including Francisco Bravo Medical Magnet High School and Orthopaedic Hospital Medical Magnet High School.
More recently, programs have been added to enhance the experience for the students. Selected students can now spend six weeks in the summer doing a work study internship at L.A. County+USC Medical Center or Keck Hospital of USC. The students also spend time volunteering in the community at local health fairs, including the Feria hosted by the American Diabetes Association.
Over time, Med-COR has seen success in sending its graduates on to major universities, where most of them major in biomedical sciences. Many go on to medical, dental, pharmacy and nursing schools across the country.
“Med-COR supports, motivates and prepares disadvantaged and underrepresented students to be competitively eligible for admission to college and ultimately a career in the health professions,” said Joyce Richey, PhD, assistant dean and chief diversity officer for student affairs at the Keck School and program director for Med-COR.
Richey added that 100 percent of Med-COR’s students graduate from high school and attend college. Their average SAT scores are far above the national and LAUSD student averages. “We are certainly making an impact.”
— Hope Hamashige