The Joint Admission Medical Program (JAMP) is a pioneering statewide initiative that has been designed to break down the financial barriers faced by low-income, high-achieving Texas students who are looking to enroll in medical school.
JAMP has been instrumental in opening the doors to medical education for those who may have otherwise been unable to pursue their aspirations. The program has achieved notable successes, and one such accomplishment can be attributed to Edward Vera Jr.
In 2017, when his father fell through an attic floor, a young Vera was inspired by the medical providers who gave his father a second lease on life. This incident reinforced his aspiration to become a doctor. Vera later joined JAMP’s cohort and is currently a second-year student at the University of North Texas Health Science Center’s Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine.
JAMP is an ideal program for Vera and others like him, as it bridges the gap between participation and success for economically disadvantaged Texans. The program offers an array of benefits to its participants, including scholarships for both undergraduate and medical school studies, up to two summer internships, MCAT preparation courses and materials, ongoing mentorship, and guaranteed admission to medical schools in Texas provided that they meet academic and testing requirements.
The summer internship, which is designed to broaden students’ perspectives, is structured to include in-person faculty-taught classes in medicine, preparation courses for MCAT, and other enrichment activities such as a visit to the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glen Rose. JAMP provides a virtual MCAT preparation course before the second internship.
Participation in the program is open to residents of Texas attending a participating Texas college who meet specific requirements, such as maintaining a GPA of 3.25 or higher, scoring equal to or higher than the state mean in SAT/ACT exams, applying for federal financial aid, and families that are unable to contribute more than $8000 towards college costs, according to Dallas Metro News.
The JAMP program offers a remarkable guarantee of admission to the school that a student matches with, provided they hold up their end of the bargain, which includes achieving the proper GPA and MCAT score. As JAMP scholars progress in their medical careers, their roles expand from being mentees to mentors. Vera is currently one of the senior students mentoring new JAMP scholars during their summer internships.
“No successful doctor makes it alone,” said Lorena Marin, the JAMP coordinator and assistant director of admission for the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine. She has become a mentor and support system for many JAMP students. Marin strives to encourage JAMP scholars as individuals because it is crucial to address their non-academic needs, especially since the program’s acceptance rate is only 10%.
“I think the biggest thing is just cheering them on, you know? The biggest thing is being there, not so much academically because I can’t be, but just for their morale. Something to look forward to that’s not related to school, but where they can just have fun and have someone show they care,” she said. “Yeah, that goes far. That goes really far.”
The stories of success like Edward Vera’s, who are fulfilling their dream of practicing medicine, demonstrate the significance of the JAMP program.
However, the program is also a significant strategy aimed at reducing Texas’ significant physician shortage. The JAMP program has enabled a diverse group of individuals to pursue their dreams and, in turn, contribute to the betterment of society.