Many children dream of becoming medical doctors when they grow up, but they often do not believe medical school is an option due to challenging coursework and costs.
A new program, Middle School to Medical School (M to M), created by a partnership with the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center and Harmony Science Academy, is striving to make medical school more achievable.
The program hosted a kickoff event at 6 p.m. on Sept. 9 at Harmony Science Academy located at 1516 53rd St. Parents and their children came to learn about the program and witness the M to M logo reveal.
The goal of the program is to expose children from underprivileged portions of the Lubbock population to the medical field, Felix Morales, the HSC dean of admissions and founder of the M to M program, said.
“Growing up, I didn’t have a lot of resources, a lot of mentorship,” Morales said. “So, my idea was to provide those resources for these students.”
Before officially implementing the program, M to M held a small preview in February, Rosario Perez, dean of admissions at Harmony Science Academy, said. Interactive stations were set up to allow students to become familiar with various medical supplies, such as blood pressure cuffs, stethoscopes and reflex hammers.
M to M wants to provide mentorship through both M to M office staff and medical students, Morales said. They want to help children take advantage of opportunities and create a pathway to medical school.
Current medical students spoke of their struggles at the kickoff event to help promote the program.
Coming from a low-income family, Diego Regalado, a second-year medical student from Navasota, said that he knew he would have to work hard and persevere to make it to medical school.
“I know right now you think, ‘Oh, I’m still in middle school, that’s so far away,’ but you have unlimited potential,” Regalado said. “Especially with this program that Dr. Morales is starting up. That’s all the help I wish I could have had when I was in junior high.”
Shanice Latham, a fourth-year medical student from Kingston, Jamaica, said she had many people encourage her to strive for her dreams over the years, just as the M and M program is designed to do.
“If I didn’t have these people that were kind of pushing me along the way and telling me the different people to go to, I don’t think I would be standing here about to graduate from medical school,” Latham said.
Overall, the administration at Harmony Science Academy was impressed with the amount of people who came to the event, Perez said.
“Our students are from a very low socioeconomic status,” Perez said. “Having the medical students come and share their story with them, I really do think they’ll continue with the program.”
In addition, they are planning to expand the M to M program to other schools within the Lubbock area, Morales said.
“Ultimately, I’d love to see some of these young people achieve that dream of having that M.D. behind their last name,” Morales said. “Hopefully, I’ll see some of these young faces walk the stage in which I can award them a white coat.”