Accelerated med program admits first students

In its first year, The QuARMS program will allow 10 students to graduate medical school early

The first group of students to be accepted into the QuARMS program
The first group of students to be accepted into the QuARMS program
Photo: 

Lauren Chan’s dreams of working as a doctor will be realized sooner than anticipated, thanks to her acceptance into the Queen’s Accelerated Route to Medical School program.

Chan is one of the ten students accepted into the QuARMS program, which allows its students to complete medical training in six years instead of the usual eight. It’s the first of its kind in North America.

Students enrolled in the program take two years of undergraduate classes before they are automatically accepted into the Queen’s School of Medicine.

“It’s just something that my whole life I knew I wanted to do, so when I heard about the program, it seemed pretty perfect,” Chan, MD ’19, said.

Chan said she and her peers were accepted based on a high grade point average in high school and their accomplishments outside the classroom.

“I was involved with a lot of volunteering in health care fields. I did a lot of research in my high school and I was working in a lab for two years,” she said.

Chan said she heard about the program through a classmate, who had seen an advertisement in the Globe and Mail.

Michael Kawaja, the associate dean of life sciences and biochemistry, said the students are encouraged to explore their own interests before they enter medical school.

“We want our QuARMS students to have that full, rich experience in the first two years of university,” he said.

Kawaja said that, though all of the current students are enrolled in the sciences, they can enroll in any course they find interesting.

Each of the students has to take four required courses to prepare for medical school. On top of that, they must take extra “enrichment modules”.

He said the modules will introduce the students to competencies that go along with training to be a doctor, such as advocacy, teamwork and leadership.

The students went through a demanding application process, according to Kawaja.

High schools nominate candidates for the Queen’s Chancellor’s Scholarship, he said, and each of these nominees has the chance to apply for the accelerated medical program.

Queen’s uses this base of applicants to narrow it down to ten students, he said, after a second application and a personal interview.

Dr. Richard Reznick, the dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, came up with the concept of an accelerated program, according to Kawaja.

Kawaja said the students are not disadvantaged by taking two years of undergraduate courses, since other universities, such as the University of Calgary, only require two years of undergraduate study before admitting students.

“The only difference is that our students will not be applying again to medical school,” he said.

Furthermore, he said, most universities only require three years of undergraduate studies, and few require four, so the accelerated students won’t be too far behind in terms of coursework.

He said the students will work with two mentors to guide them through their time at Queen’s. One will be a physician or another faculty member, he said, and another will be a medical student.

“Say students want to learn more about what it’s like to do a full day at KGH in surgery,” he said.

“That’s what these mentors will help them with.”

Tags: 

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.