Grand Valley Partners With MSU for New Early Admissions Program

<p>John Westfall, second-year medical student and GVSU graduate, makes remarks during a news conference July 23 that outlined an early assurance of admission program.  Courtesy /</p>

John Westfall, second-year medical student and GVSU graduate, makes remarks during a news conference July 23 that outlined an early assurance of admission program.  Courtesy /

Devin Dely

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Pre-medical students at Grand Valley State University will now have increased opportunity for attending a medical school in Michigan thanks to a new partnership with Michigan State University. 

Up to five spots have been reserved for qualified GVSU students in MSU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, allowing for a greater overall number of Grand Valley students to be admitted into the program. GVSU officials worked closely with the MSU COM to put together the new partnership. Jean Nagelkerk, Vice Provost for Health at GVSU, says that this decision will likely benefit both institutions.

“This is an example of how our public higher education institutions are collaborating to meet the needs of the community,” Nagelkerk said. 

Though more than five students can apply in the general admissions process, those participating in the early admissions program can count on some waived application fees and additional academic opportunities, which they can begin taking advantage of as early as their freshman year.

“GVSU has exceptional students, and they’re well prepared, so when they get to their (medical) programs, they’re very successful,” Nagelkerk said. “With this opportunity, they can start getting mentoring, they can get some experiences shadowing a physician or a healthcare provider, they can engage in some research activities and they can have specialized advising to prepare themselves for medical school.” 

This collaboration is reminiscent of a previous partnership that the two universities formed in 2012, which similarly reserves up to five spots in MSU’s College of Human Medicine for GVSU students. That contract also involved Grand Rapids Community College, reserving an additional slot in the program for a GVSU student who previously attended GRCC. 

“As far as the overall design of the two programs, they’re very similar in that in their freshman year, they (the students) get those same specialized services and they learn more about what it is to be a physician so that they can prepare themselves,” Nagelkerk said. “Plus, what I’ve seen is a trend that we have more students from GV admitted to the College of Human Medicine above and beyond our five slots.” 

In addition to providing increased opportunities for students, another reason for these kinds of partnerships is to help combat a shortage of medical professionals in the state. 

“About 84.5 percent of our students stay in Michigan after they graduate, so there’s a greater likelihood that the medical students from Grand Valley will stay in the state,” Nagelkerk said. “In addition, what we do know is that individuals who have lived in a rural community tend to potentially look at that as a potential job opportunity in the future. So, when they graduate from medical school and do their residency, they may go back to that home community in that rural area and fill a significantly critical need for a physician.”

While MSU now has similar partnerships with other institutions in the state, GVSU was the first for both the College of Human Medicine and the College of Osteopathic Medicine. Grand Valley also a similar partnership with Wayne State University, providing students with more opportunities and making the effects of this effort to combat physician shortages even wider-reaching.