The University of Alabama, Birmingham (UAB) School of Medicine is partnering with Oakwood University (OU) for a new Early Assurance Program (EAP), offering qualified students early acceptance to the School of Medicine, along with shadowing and research opportunities.
Oakwood is the first HBCU in the state of Alabama to partner in this way with UAB School of Medicine. “We felt partnering with Oakwood was a great fit because of the University’s mission, and with the School of Medicine’s presence in Huntsville,” said Craig J. Hoesley, M.D., senior associate dean for medical education at UAB School of Medicine.
Robert A. L. Blake, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics on the School of Medicine’s Huntsville Regional Medical Campus and Oakwood alumnus, approached Karen Benn Marshall, Ed.D., vice president at Oakwood, about the program. Marshall is now administrator for the Memo of Understanding with UAB. “The Early Assurance Program provides an excellent opportunity for the UAB School of Medicine to ensure a pipeline of high-caliber trainees, and for Oakwood University students to solidify their academic futures,” Blake said.
Oakwood University is the nation’s 11th-ranked producer of undergraduate Black applicants to medical schools, and the only university or HBCU among the top 20 universities in the state of Alabama, according to the Association for American Medical Colleges. Oakwood’s STEM program has been ranked 4th of small HBCUs to graduate Black STEM students, and has consistently ranked in the top 15 for matriculating Black students to medical school. The biology program also has a strong record of matriculating Black students to other professional and graduate programs.
The Early Assurance Program is open to current Oakwood students who have completed their sophomore year. Applicants must have a minimum 3.5 undergraduate grade point average and a minimum 3.5 grade point average in their science courses. Preference is given to Alabama residents. “Ideal qualifications for candidates include diverse experiences and perspectives, career potential for leadership, maturity, strong letters of support, and a passion for service,” said Christina J. Grabowski, Ph.D., associate dean for admissions and enrollment management in the School of Medicine.
The first Oakwood students in the EAP began this fall and can enroll in the School of Medicine in the 2023-2024 academic year. After review, five students were chosen for the EAP: Christyn Byrd, Jayda Caldwell, Durell King, and Andisa Labossiere, all biology/pre-med; and David Reid, biochemistry.
“Four of the five students are graduates from Oakwood Adventist Academy, and had participated in the dual enrollment program. I am so proud of them!” said Elaine Vanterpool, Ph.D., Oakwood’s faculty EAP liaison and professor and chair of biological sciences.
“The Early Assurance Program is a key partnership for Oakwood University. The early reward for such remarkable work by our student-scholars is a gift to their parents, families, peers, and professors. Congratulations to Christyn, Jayda, Durell, Andisa, and David. You have made us proud!” said Leslie Pollard, Ph.D., D.Min., M.B.A., Oakwood University president.
Oakwood University | November 2021