On Wednesday, Jacksonville University (JU) launched a one-year master’s program uniquely designed for students from diverse backgrounds who wish to pursue careers in healthcare.
The Master of Science in Medical Sciences (MSMS) program, in partnership with Tiber Health, offers an on-ramp to medical school and other professional programs like pharmacy, optometry, and physician’s assistant in response to two concerning trends in U.S. healthcare: a growing doctor shortage, and a medical profession that fails to reflect the increasingly diverse U.S. population.
“When you consider that nearly 82 million Americans live in areas that don’t have enough primary healthcare professionals, and, on average, only about 7 percent of people who apply to a medical school are accepted each year, it’s clear that we need new solutions for talented students who want to pursue medical careers,” said JU President Tim Cost. “As an industry, higher education can do more to improve access to healthcare education for deserving students and ensure healthcare professionals better reflect the communities they serve.”
Although 20 percent of Americans live in rural communities, just 11 percent of physicians practice in them; and only about 4 percent of today’s U.S. medical students are from rural areas, according to the latest published research. Likewise, Black and Hispanic Americans make up nearly one-third of the U.S. population but just 10 percent of doctors and 11 percent of medical school students.
The Master of Science in Medical Sciences program is uniquely designed to help prepare students for medical school, other medical professional programs, or to launch a career in related fields like public health or clinical research. For students who are academically promising but underprepared, the MSMS program provides additional academic training ahead of medical school or other rigorous healthcare programs, helping to advance equitable access to quality healthcare education programs and, in turn, careers in the medical field. Today, more than 83% of the MSMS student body across all Tiber partner universities come from underrepresented backgrounds.
The MSMS program at JU also offers the opportunity for bilingual individuals who speak both Spanish and English through a collaboration with Ponce Health Sciences University, which promises the top 20 percent of Jacksonville University’s high-performing MSMS graduates an entry interview for its medical school in Puerto Rico.
“For nearly 40 years, Jacksonville University has graduated outstanding healthcare professionals who help elevate the quality of care in our region and state. Now, through our relationships with Tiber Health and Ponce Health Sciences University, students will have more post-graduate options to continue their education and, moreover, will be better positioned for success in the field they choose,” Cost said.
Tiber Health’s industry-leading educational model will establish and sustain Jacksonville’s MSMS program and will empower students to take charge of their own academic success through regular, data-driven self-evaluation. Tiber Health’s methodology leverages advanced analytics to personalize learning and improvement. Real-time data, gathered throughout each student’s time in the program, goes beyond traditional entrance exam scores to give professional schools insight into students with a high likelihood of success.
Through a dynamic mix of hands-on classroom experiences and virtual learning, Tiber Health’s scalable model is proven to improve retention, graduation and board passage rates. To date, 77 percent of graduates from Tiber-powered MSMS programs continue on to their preferred healthcare path.
“Jacksonville University has a strong history of preparing job-ready professionals to serve in in-demand jobs across Florida. We’re proud to be partnering with them in our mission to not only help students pursue meaningful careers, but to address critical needs in our society,” said Dr. David Lenihan, the founder and CEO of Tiber Health. “Jacksonville graduates will be among the next generation of healthcare professionals that we need – passionate and well-trained to meet the diverse needs of their communities.”
JU joins a network of institutions including Southern California University of Health Sciences, St. Thomas University, Saint Xavier University and others who are working with Tiber Health to dramatically increase the diversity of today’s healthcare professionals. Graduates have gone on to pursue medical school and diverse careers including podiatry, pharmacy, public health, education, and research.