Northeast Regional Alliance (NERA) MedPrep Scholars Program


The Northeast Regional Alliance (NERA) MedPrep Scholars Program is a partnership between New Jersey Medical School, Mount Sinai School of Medicine Center for Multicultural and Community Affairs, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and the Manhattan Staten Island Area Health Education Center.

The program uniquely builds on the collective expertise of four outstanding institutions to expand health career preparation for minority and disadvantaged students from junior high school through medical school with the goal of increasing competitiveness for and in medical school. Ultimately, we expect our scholars will have the humanism, professionalism, and interpersonal skills required of a future physician caring for a diverse population.

For additional information: 

Funded by the Health Careers Opportunity Program (HCOP) Grant no. D18HP10627 from the U.S. Departmant of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration.

Please be sure to attend our Virtual Recruitment Fair on November 15th @ 6:00pm to learn more about this and other programs. Click to RSVP!

Program Dates for 2017

Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons

  • MedPrep Level 1: June 12, 2017 – July 28, 2017
  • MedPrep Level 3:  June 15, 2017 – July 28, 2017

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

  • MedPrep Levels 2 & 3: TBA

Rutgers New Jersey Medical School

  • MedPrep Level 1: TBA
  • MedPrep Levels 2 & 3: TBA

Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine

  • MedPrep Level 1: TBA
  • MedPrep Level 3: TBA

Programs and Activities

MedPrep Application

Scholars selected for this highly competitive program will be expected to complete MedPrep 1, 2, and 3. Upon completion of the 3 phases, a composite letter of recommendation will be sent to your undergraduate institution. All programs run a full day. If you are taking credit courses, working, or have demands that would require you to miss class, we suggest that you not submit an application. In addition, please note that students must also provide proof of health insurance once admitted to the program.


MedPrep 1

The MedPrep Program builds on the academic, experiential, and communication skills requisite to becoming a competitive applicant to medical school.

During the first summer, the scholar will be immersed in an intensive academic program consisting of the development of verbal reasoning skills, biological and physical sciences, study strategies, and communication skills.

MedPrep 1 encompasses:

  • Biological and Physical Sciences
  • Accelerated Learning Skills Course
  • Seminars on various topics in medicine and healthcare
  • Medical School Admissions counseling session

Content includes:

  • Biological & Physical Sciences - Topics covered in subjects such as Organic Chemistry, Physics, and Anatomy
  • Accelerated Learning Skills Course - Time allocated: 1) to evaluate a student's study habits, reading ability, thought processes, learning techniques, time management skills, exam preparation, and writing techniques; 2) to train a student in how to modify and improve in areas where deficiencies are detected; and 3) to verbal reasoning enhancing the student's skill in navigating this section of the MCAT
  • Seminars cover specialties in medicine (i.e. Pediatrics, Surgery, Internal Medicine, OB/GYN, etc.) as well as medical research, the medical school application process, and public health issues.
  • Counseling Sessions -Students will have the opportunity to meet with a member of the Admissions team for tips to make themselves into more competitive applicants.

MedPrep 2

During phase 2, scholars have an opportunity to experience the clinical setting and complete an intensive MCAT prep course designed to maximize their performance. For students that complete Phase 1 at Columbia, Phase 2 will take place at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

MedPrep 2 encompasses:

  • MCAT Prep Course
  • Clinical Experience
  • Individualized Educational Plan (IEP)  

Content includes:

  • MCAT Prep Course: The MCAT prep course provides students with the tools necessary to master the skills being tested on the MCAT examination. The course begins with a four-hour diagnostic test. A report will be generated based on the results of this sample MCAT examination and will allow students to identify areas of strengths and, more importantly, areas of improvement. Students will also be evaluated midway and at the end of the program.  Results of the individual evaluation will be used to build upon the individual education plan in an effort to identify areas of academic and non-academic improvement. Each student will receive home study books to also allow him/her to review and practice at their convenience.
  • Clinical Component: Students will present orally and provide a written report, based on a specific clinical experience, the following: a medical condition or procedure, its history, epidemiology, current treatment or use of a procedure, and cost-benefit/risks.

MedPrep 3

During phase 3, scholars will gain an understanding of how research impacts medical care.

MedPrep 3 encompasses:

  • Research Component
  • Getting Ready for Medical School

Content includes:

  • Research Component: Students will be provided with research opportunities on health-related issues affecting underserved communities and be able to discuss in a written report and oral presentation a detailed description with illustrated examples the following: 1) the scientific method as it applies to the original investigation; 2) methods of data gathering, recording, analysis, and interpretation; 3) use of the Internet for literature retrieval; 4) communication of the results; and 5) specific techniques used to conduct the research. Through a series of seminars, students will learn the responsible conduct of research, fundamentals of research design, including clinical trials, and considerations in the use of human subjects and animals in research, including the role of the Institutional Review Board (IRB). Students will also be exposed to various medical specialties and, ultimately, gain a broader understanding of the numerous healthcare issues plaguing underserved communities.
  • Getting Ready for Medical School: Students will have counseling sessions with Admissions staff, practice mock admissions interviews, and have continued seminars on applying to medical school and professional skills. 

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Application Instructions

  1. Students must be United States Citizens or a permanent resident. Student Visas are not accepted. Permanent residents are required to demonstrate proof of status by providing a copy of both sides of their Green Card.
  2. Students must write two (2) short essays.
  3. Students must provide two (2) letters of recommendation, sealed and signed, from a science and/or math professor, mailed to the office. Address is below.
  4. Students must provide a current official transcript which includes most recent grades. This transcript must be uploaded with the application .
  5. Please submit your application ONLY when complete with uploaded personal statement, transcript, and resume. Doing otherwise can delay processing and review of your application.

Access the application

Application Requirements

To be eligible for the NERA MedPrep Program at Columbia University, an applicant must:

  • be a U.S. citizen or Permanent Resident;
  • be a resident of the five boroughs of New York City, Long Island, or Westchester county (this is a non-residential program and keep in mind that classes will start as early as 8 a.m.);
  • be a college freshman OR sophomore;
  • have a minimum GPA of 2.5, or equivalent academic credentials.

It is also recommended that students complete, at the least, one (1) semester of chemistry before beginning the program.

Selection Process

  • Application Deadline: March 1, 2017
  • Notification: Sudents are admitted on a rolling basis. Students must also provide proof of health insurance once admitted to the program.
  • Contact information for Columbia University Program Site:

Columbia University
College of Physicians and Surgeons
Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs
104 Haven Ave,
Suite 10-03
Attn: MedPrep
New York, NY 10032

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HCOP Staff

Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons

Hilda Hutcherson, M.D.
HCOP Co-Principal Investigator and Columbia Site Principal Investigator

Samantha McLaughlin, M.A.

Cindy Estevez, M.P.A.
Program Coordinator

Katherine Rojas, B.S.
Program Assistant

Samuel Quiah
HCOP Evaluation Specialist

Contact Columbia's site at:

New Jersey Medical School

Maria Soto-Greene, M.D.
HCOP Co-Principal Investigator and NJMS site Principal Investigator
Phone: (973) 972-3495

Victor Marques
Office of Special Programs
Phone: (973) 972-3762

Mount Sinai School of Medicine

Gary Butts, M.D.
HCOP Principal Investigator
Center for Multicultural & Community Affairs
Phone: (212) 241-8276
Fax: (212) 241-3594

Alyson Davis, MSW
HCOP Project Coordinator
Center for Multicultural & Community Affairs
Phone: (212) 241-7655

Sherria McDowell, MPH
HCOP Project Administrator
Center for Multicultural & Community Affairs
Phone: (212) 241-6036
Fax: (212) 241-3594

Ann-Gel Palermo, MPH
Grant and Contracts Oversight
Center for Multicultural & Community Affairs
Phone: (212) 241-8886
Fax: (212) 241-3594

Manhattan Staten Island Area Health Education Center

Mary Mitchell
Executive Director
Manhattan-Staten Island AHEC
Phone: (212) 534-2432

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Contact Us

Columbia University
College of Physicians and Surgeons
Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs
104 Haven Ave, Suite 10-03
New York, NY 10032
Phone: (212) 305-4157

UMDNJ – New Jersey Medical School
Office of Special Programs
185 South Orange Avenue
Medical Science Building, B–624
Newark, NJ 07101
Phone: (973) 972-3762

Mount Sinai School of Medicine
Center for Multicultural & Community Affairs
1 Gustave L. Levy Place, Box 1035
New York, NY 10029
Phone: (212) 241-6755

Manhattan-Staten Island AHEC
43 Central Park North, Suite 1A
New York, NY 10026
Phone: (212) 534-2432
Fax: (212) 534-2478

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