As pre-med students journey through their undergraduate experience (in hopes of getting into medical school, of course), many questions run through their minds. What kind of material will I be learning? What kind of patients will I work with? What will my life be like in medical school? What about when I’m a physician? Aspire, a summer program held by the Stritch School of Medicine hopes to answer some of these questions. This program acts as a preview before the real deal. According to the Stritch School of Medicine’s website, the program is dedicated towards pre-medical students who want to work with under-served communities.

This previous summer, the program was held from July 4 to July 11, 2014. The main goal of the program is to help pre-medical students prepare for medical school through a comprehensive hands-on curriculum. A requirement for the program is taking the MCAT exam prior to applying. The website also states that the program includes mock medical school interviews, mentoring from the SSOM students and even specialty lunches with Loyola physicians!

The program includes academic encounters with Stritch Medical School professors, places an emphasis on small group patient-centered care and offers a chance to work with Loyola clinics. Another major focus of the program is teaching the importance of health care equality, which is an important sector of medicine to consider for those who aspire to enter the field of medicine. The website also stresses the opportunity for participants to ‘network’ with Loyola Stritch faculty, who have connections far beyond the medical campus. In addition to talking with faculty, the students listen to riveting lectures led by physicians about their experiences in the treatment of diseases such as: obesity, diabetes, asthma and other respiratory illnesses.

The SSOM website continues to state that once the participant is accepted, they will be given a $1200 stipend in addition to complimentary housing near campus. The program will cover the lunch expenses of the participant throughout the program’s duration, and will provide the students with the required textbooks and lab materials. To apply, visit this link: http://stritch.luc.edu/content/aspire.