KGUN 9NewsLocal News


UArizona makes history with medical school transition program out of high school

UArizona makes history with medical school transition program
Posted at 4:04 PM, Jun 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-02 01:17:19-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The University of Arizona is making history in the state with its new Accelerated Pathway to Medical Education Program.

UArizona is welcoming its 1st APME class this upcoming school year. It is a class of just six students, but one that will surely blaze a trail for future committed physicians.

“It’s incredible. I mean, how many 18-year-olds know they’re going to be a doctor, 100 percent? It’s practically zero,” said Nikhil Mathur who graduated from University High School.

The keyword here being “practically,” because Mathur knows he has a guaranteed spot into the UArizona College of Medicine.

“And I don’t take that lightly at all," he said. "Just to give you some statistics -- the U of A medical acceptance rate was around one to two percent, and not only that, the MCAT -- it takes years of studying to really prepare and do well on the test enough where you even qualify to really apply to medical school,” he added.

Though Mathur and his class don’t have to worry about either. This is something Kyra Singh is relieved about.

“I honestly can't believe that it’s real sometimes. It’s really cool to be able to not have to worry,” she told KGUN9.

Dr. Tejal Parikh, an Associate Dean of Admissions at the UArizona College of Medicine says this will allow students to focus on other interests.

“The idea is that it will be a seven-year program with three years at the University of Arizona and then they transition to the medical school. So they will be the class of 2028,” said Dr. Parikh.

“What I’m studying during my undergraduate is business because I’m hoping one day I can learn about health administration,” added Mathur.

“Something I’ve always been interested in is philosophy and I didn’t think that I’d be able to explore it as in-depth because I’d have to be taking a lot of science classes,” Singh told KGUN9.

If they can swing getting a bachelor's degree or a minor in those three years, it is welcomed but not a requirement.

High school seniors from across the country can apply for this program but must be admitted to the University of Arizona.

“It’s a history-making moment. This is an opportunity really for students who are committed to medicine,” said Dr. Parikh.

“Everything that I’ve always kind of wanted to happen, although I never thought it would happen like this, this is how it’s ending up and I can’t ask for a better thing,” added Singh.

“It’s a big deal to me and I think it makes every single one of us want to work harder and achieve bigger dreams, and achieve success, and it’s really a blessing,” Mathur told KGUN9.

At this time Mathur wishes to be a surgeon, while Singh hopes to become a cardiologist.