CAMDEN — Kumail Kazim had been told that no experience could prepare him for medical school quite like diving headfirst into the rigorous curriculum first-year medical students face, but he begs to differ.
“I believe that the unparalleled experiences I gained at Rutgers–Camden have better prepared me for medical school than if I hadn’t gone through the program,” says Kazim.
The program Kazim is referring to is Rutgers–Camden’s BA/DO program, which offers Rutgers–Camden students an accelerated path to a medical career.
Kazim is one of seven Rutgers–Camden students currently enrolled in the joint venture between Rutgers–Camden the Rowan School of Osteopathic Medicine (formerly the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey School of Osteopathic Medicine).
Students enrolled in the program complete a three-year curriculum at Rutgers–Camden as biology majors before moving on to study for four years in medical school. They graduate from Rutgers–Camden with a bachelor’s degree after completing their first year of medical school.
In May 2013, Meet Parikh (pictured) became the first student enrolled in the program to graduate from Rutgers–Camden. He is beginning his second year of medical school this summer.
“Being able to get an education from a great university like Rutgers and to continue on to one of the premier medical schools in the nation has made me love this program even more,” says Parikh, a Voorhees resident. “Having a strong connection with School of Osteopathic Medicine faculty and students from my undergraduate years helped me build a foundation for relations that have been essential in my success through the program thus far.”
While the students in the program are still working toward their undergraduate degree at Rutgers–Camden, they are given the opportunity to visit the Rowan School of Osteopathic Medicine, interact with medical students, sit in on labs and lectures, and even use some of the state-of-the-art technology.
“The BA/DO program has provided a path toward my goal,” says Kazim, a Princeton resident who completed his three years at Rutgers–Camden in May and begins his first year of medical school this summer.
“Instead of going through the traditional four years at the undergraduate level, the program has allowed me to begin medical school a year early,” Kazim says. “Furthermore, Rutgers–Camden offers an abundance of extra-curricular activities — such as club involvement and community service — that helped shape who I am today and prepared me for a career as a healthcare provider.”
The program allows Rutgers–Camden students to gain some experience in medical research and observe medical professionals in their real-world environment before ever beginning their medical school careers.
The experience has been invaluable to students like Brian Chinai, a Freehold resident who completed his third year at Rutgers–Camden in May and is moving on to medical school this summer.
“I definitely feel that I am more prepared to enter medical school,” Chinai says. “The professors at Rutgers–Camden really assisted me in gaining a proper foundation in the basic sciences, which will undoubtedly help for medical school.”
Chinai adds, “Being able to see what classes and labs are like, along with receiving knowledge from medical students on how to succeed, will help me adjust quickly to life as a medical student. In addition, some of my undergraduate courses, such as immunology and anatomy and physiology, will really help ease the burden during my first year, since I will have previous exposure to those topics.”
The joint BA/DO program, which began at Rutgers–Camden in 2007, continues to grow as more students express interest beginning their medical careers on the Rutgers–Camden campus, says Jim Marino, director of the program and of the Rutgers–Camden Career Center.
“We want to make the connection between Rutgers–Camden and medical school from day one to prepare the students for their medical careers as soon as they step on the Rutgers–Camden campus,” Marino says. “The program is growing and is allowing our students to explore more avenues of medicine and health.”
For more information about the program, visit cc.camden.rutgers.edu/joint_ba_do.