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Health Career Opportunity Programs

A top priority for the Schools of Medicine and Dental Medicine has long been the recruitment and retention of students from diverse groups who are underrepresented in American health care professions. The Health Career Opportunity Programs actively recruits minority medical and dental students and supports those who are enrolled throughout the academic year.



Applications from underrepresented students are reviewed by the Admissions Committee using the same criteria applied to all applications. Candidates for admission receive a full review and are selected on a competitive basis. Underrepresented candidates invited for an interview meet with the associate dean and/or assistant dean and staff of the Health Career Opportunity Programs office, and medical or dental students who answer questions in an informal setting. The associate dean and assistant dean are members of the Admissions Committee. Students also act as hosts for medical and dental school applicants.


Support Programs

Academic support is available in the form of career and academic counseling by the Health Career Opportunity Programs associate dean and the Medical and Dental Student Affairs associate deans. Upon request, time management and test-taking skills courses are available to all incoming students. In addition, tutorial services and board examination review courses are available.

Social support includes: a welcome reception for incoming freshmen with classmates, upper level students, residents, fellows, faculty, and community physicians and dentists; luncheon meetings and seminars on health care topics throughout the academic year, including the annual Elbert A. Powell and Irma Cheek Powell Minority Enrichment Lecture Series; the Minority Practitioners Mentoring Program with community physicians and dentists, including minority medical and dental alumni serving as mentors for enrolled medical and dental students; and support for student representatives to attend annual meetings of professional associations, including the Student National Medical Association (SNMA), Student National Dental Association (SNDA), and the Hispanic Student Dental Association (HSDA).

The SNMA and SNDA/HSDA also offer first-year students assistance with their new educational environment through a peer support network with second-year students and communication of scholarly and socially newsworthy items of interest to enrolled medical and dental students through a department newsletter.



Through the Health Career Opportunity Programs, the Schools of Medicine and Dental Medicine operate an extensive recruitment and outreach program to ensure a diverse applicant pool. Some of the methods used to interest qualified applicants in our program includes: visits to area colleges and to historically Black colleges and universities; representation at recruitment programs throughout the country that are attended by potential applicants from diverse groups; use of community resources; direct mail; and summer enrichment programs. Our own students are actively encouraged to participate in the recruitment program.


Enrichment Programs

The Health Career Opportunity Programs sponsors the following Aetna Health Professions Partnership Initiative (HPPI) summer and academic year programs. This initiative was developed to promote diversity in the health professions and is a formal educational consortium offering a comprehensive program of educational enrichment and support activities for underrepresented, disadvantaged and first generation students applying to medical and dental schools, graduate programs in biomedical sciences, nursing, pharmacy and allied health programs.

Program elements form a continuous pipeline for middle/junior high school, high school and college level students. The department supports students of diverse backgrounds and has expanded its programs for middle, high school and college students to realize their dreams of becoming health professionals.

The Aetna HPPI programs have proven to be top-notch because many of the program participants have successfully completed their undergraduate degrees have actualized their goals of entering medical, dental and graduate school. We continue to develop new programs and fine-tune existing ones since exposure to the various fields in the biomedical sciences will ultimately increase the diverse pool of students who pursue careers in the health professions.

Middle School Students


High School Students


College Students


The Health Disparities Clinical Summer Research Fellowship Program, Medical/Dental Preparatory Program, and the Summer Research Fellowship Program also serve as pre-matriculation programs for interested students accepted to the School of Medicine or Dental Medicine. Housing and a stipend are provided.






Program Assistance

The UConn Health’s Health Career Opportunity Programs is partially supported by the following funding sources:

Funding Sources



Links and Publications


Medical School and Medical Students

Biomedical Sciences and Research Opportunities

Dental School and Dental Students

Affiliated Centers and Partners


Aetna HPPI Newsletter
Upcoming Events

Saturday, April 23, 2016, 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Bridge to the Future Mentoring Conference

Thinking of a Career in the Health Field?

Come join us at our annual interactive conference for high school and college students.


Related Information


Enrichment Programs

Middle School Students

High School Students

College Students


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Message from the Director
Photo of Marja M. Hurley, M.D., Director of HCOP Marja M. Hurley, M.D.
Associate Dean
Department of Health Career Opportunity Programs
Founding Director, Aetna Health Professions Partnership Initiative


Message from the Associate Director
Photo of Granville Wrensford, Ph.D., Associate Director of HCOP Granville Wrensford, Ph.D.
Assistant Dean
Department of Health Career Opportunity Programs
Associate Director, Aetna Health Professions Partnership Initiative


Message from the Assistant Director
Photo of Kerry-Ann Stewart, Ph.D. , Assistant Director of HCOP Kerry-Ann Stewart, Ph.D.
Assistant Director, Aetna Health Professions Partnership Initiative
Department of Health Career Opportunity Programs
UConn School of Medicine
263 Farmington Avenue
Farmington, CT 06030

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