Medical Physician Preparation (MPP) Academy

A Division of the NAPCA Foundation

Empowering students with the tools and mindsets to define their life’s purpose/career path, break through their barriers, and take ownership of their future college and career aspirations.

MPP Academy Goal 2035

Our big goal is to increase the diversity among doctors who are underrepresented in the physician workforce from the current rate of 11% to 20% by 2035. We are committed to building a pipeline of future medical students, as early as 4th grade, that is more representative of the U.S. population.

Breaking Through The Barriers to Medical School

Demystifying the Barriers to Medical School &
Our Approach to Overcome Them

The Barriers to Medical School

Traditionally, the path to medical school starts as an undergraduate student where they pursue the pre-medicine academic track, in addition to an academic major (non-science or science field) in which students will take the prerequisite coursework necessary to apply for medical school. The next step on the path is as follows: complete medical school, then complete a residency program in the student’s chosen medical specialty, which will then lead to a full-time position as a licensed medical physician.

Financial Cost of Medical School Education

According to The Healthforce Center at UCSF, students underrepresented in medicine (URM) experience a greater barrier to medical school education than their non-URM counterparts, as they are more likely to have a lower socio-economic status (U.S. Census Bureau 2018).

Lack of Academic Preparation 

Students underrepresented in medicine (URM) often receive lower grades in science and math courses because they are not as prepared as their non-URM counterparts (Chen et al, 2009). Schools they attend are typically under-resourced and do not provide rigorous academic coursework. Notably, the pre-medical gateway courses in college have been shown to cause students to lose interest in pursuing a career in medicine due to being academically underprepared (Barr et al, 2010, Barr et al, 2008).

Limited Exposure to Careers in Medicine

According to The Healthforce Center at UCSF, students underrepresented in medicine (URM) from socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds may be unaware of the importance of relevant internships and accessing internships.  Additionally, without financial assistance URM students may not be able to complete internships due to the need to earn income for educational and family expenses.

Stereotype Threat

Stereotype threat is defined as a “socially premised psychological threat that arises when one is in a situation or doing something for which a negative stereotype about one’s group applies” (Steele & Aronson, 1995). In the case of students underestimated in medicine (URM) in an educational setting this can lead to concerns of being viewed negatively by professors and peers with regard to their capabilities. This may lead to poor performance on standardized entrance exams and classroom performance.

Admissions Requirements

According to The Healthforce Center at UCSF, URM students who are academically underprepared for college often have lower GPAs in the pre-medical prerequisite coursework, and URM students cannot typically pay for MCAT test preparation courses to maximize their scores. Additionally, URM students may struggle with requirements for writing essays and the interview process.

Imposter Syndrome

The Impostor Phenomenon (IP) is marked by an individual’s persistent perception of incompetency despite contrary evidence (Lige et al, 2016). URM students often face the barrier of imposter syndrome, in which case they feel like an intellectual fraud, creating self-doubt and feelings of inadequacy. The American Psychological Association notes this is more prevalent in the minority communities.

Lack of Mentors Concordant with Student’s Race/Ethnicity

According to The Healthforce Center at UCSF, there is an importance of peer mentorship for college students.  However, a key barrier for students underrepresented in medicine (URM) is the lack of mentors who are racially or ethnically concordant, given the lack of diversity in physician workforce.

Lack of Academic Preparedness for Pre-Med Coursework

Zhang examined the pattern and predictors of attrition at various milestones of pre-med coursework during college. The study analyzed a sample of 15,442 undergraduate students, spanning 102 post-secondary institutions fulfilling the required coursework to become eligible to apply to medical school.

Only 16.5% of undergraduate students completed the pre-med coursework necessary to apply to medical school.

Additionally, the study showed drop-out rates are the highest during the first and second semester of the pre-med coursework. (Zhang et al, 2020)

Stress is a Common Issue Amongst Pre-Med Students

Mental health concerns are especially common among pre-medical undergraduate students, who face near-constant stress and the looming prospect of applying to medical school. Kaplan Test Prep conducted a survey in 2020 of about 400 pre-med students centered around their mental health. The survey showed that “almost 4 out of 10 aspiring doctors (37 percent) surveyed say that they have ‘seriously considered’ dropping their plans for a medical career because of the level of stress they experienced as a pre-med undergraduate student.” Additionally, the survey found that 26% of pre-med students surveyed say they experience stress “pretty much always”, 45% say they experience it “frequently”, and 28% say “occasionally”.

Half of College Students Require Remedial Coursework

50% of students at over 200 campuses nationwide required remedial coursework in English and Math. Additionally, 40% of the students at two-year schools and 25% at the four-year schools failed to complete remedial classes (The Hechinger Report, 2017).

The Competitiveness of the Medical School Admissions Process

The medical school application process is a notoriously selective process, and is becoming increasingly more competitive.  In 2019, the medical school acceptance rate was 42.6%, decreasing to 40.9% in 2020.  Therefore, nearly 60% of applicants applying to medical school each cycle are not accepted and do not matriculate to medical school.  The average applicant’s science GPA, non-science GPA and MCAT score continues to increase, signaling the importance of academic preparedness to become a competitive medical school applicant.

Fast Facts
2019 Cohort 2020 Cohort
Acceptance Rate Science GPA of Matriculants Non-Science GPA of Matriculants MCAT of Matriculants Acceptance Rate Science GPA of Matriculants Non-Science GPA of Matriculants MCAT of Matriculants
42.6% 3.65 3.8 511.2 40.9% 3.66 3.81 511.5
Fast Facts
2019 Cohort
Acceptance Rate Science GPA of Matriculants Non-Science GPA of Matriculants MCAT of Matriculants
42.6% 3.65 3.8 511.2
2020 Cohort
Acceptance Rate Science GPA of Matriculants Non-Science GPA of Matriculants MCAT of Matriculants
40.9% 3.66 3.81 511.5
(AAMC, 2019; AAMC 2020; Zhang et al, 2020)

Our Approach to Addressing the Barriers to Medical School

The Medical Physician Preparation (MPP) Academy is truly transformational because of our research based curriculum and focus on sustainable impact. Our year-round pipeline programs are delivered in a hybrid format (online and on-campus, in-person), which combines a 4-5 week on-campus, in-person summer intensive each summer over a four-year period with weekly online classes (2-4 hours per week) throughout the academic year (Fall, Winter, and Spring Semesters). Students live in the dorms on a university campus, spend 12 hours a day learning and experiencing collegiate life. They take rigorous classes in mathematics, science, academic writing, to name a few. Classes are taught by highly qualified instructors who are scholars and professionals in the medicine and healthcare community.

MPP Academy students develop the social and emotional attributes to matriculate and thrive in medical school and beyond.

  • Our Social-Emotional Seminars are designed to help students break through their barriers and develop the resilience needed to achieve their future career goal of becoming a medical physician.
  • Our Wellness Workshops are meant to help students to thrive, to maintain and even improve health, to take ownership of one’s health to prevent illness and develop a healthy lifestyle.

MPP Academy students receive year-round rigorous academic instruction to become a competitive medical school applicant, with the mindset, tools, and resources to succeed in medical school and beyond.

  • Students receive extensive instruction in pre-medical coursework including math, science, academic writing, and public speaking.
  • Our focus for elementary and secondary students is to build a strong math and science foundation to strengthen their preparation for pre-med college courses and beyond.

MPP Academy students are provided with personalized guidance and a four phase evidence-based approach to career exploration & planning to help students determine if a career in medicine is the right fit. Additionally, our program will help students discover their career path in the field of medicine.

  • Students will receive a comprehensive textbook (written exclusively for MPP Academy participants) that empowers them with the tools and resources to navigate the career exploration and planning process.