Pre-medical Enhancement Program (PEP) Overview

The UVM Pre-medical Enhancement Program (PEP) is an extracurricular enrichment program for UVM undergraduate students interested in pursuing a career in medicine or other health profession.  PEP is a collaboration between the UVM Larner College of Medicine (LCOM) Office of Primary Care and Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) Program, and the Honors College at UVM.  PEP partners include the UVM Career Center, The UVM Medical Center (UVMMC), medical students, medical practices, and health professionals. The success of PEP relies on the generous donation of time by community physicians.

PEP is a formalized two and a half year mentoring and exploration opportunity.  The intent of the program is to introduce students to the complex realities of health care delivery, including patient care and practice management while allowing them to witness the tremendous responsibility entrusted to physicians and healthcare professionals. The program is a combination of physician-led small group discussions, independent study and reflection, medical student mentoring and opportunity for shadowing (temporarily suspended due to COVID-19) in clinical settings.  The small group topics are based on current challenges in health in our society, professionalism and the role of physicians and interprofessional teams in addressing these issues.   In addition to the small group sessions, students will shadow physician-mentors in various fields as COVID-19 public safety requirements allow. Ideally, students will also begin to appreciate the important role physicians and healthcare professionals have in advocating for the health of individuals and families as well as that of our community. Participants will be assigned an LCOM student-mentor throughout their time in PEP, and through this relationship will gain insight into the medical school experience.

Those who successfully complete the Pre-medical Enhancement Program (PEP) strengthen their application to The Larner College of Medicine and other medical schools/health professions training programs.

PEP focus areas:
PEP objectives, curriculum, assignments, and deliverables will link to AHEC’s six broad focus areas:

  1. Interprofessional Education/Interprofessional Teams (team-based care delivery, patient-centered care)
  2. Behavioral Health Integration (services that better address the needs of individual with mental health and substance use conditions)
  3. Social Determinants of Health (economic stability, education, social and community context, health and health care, neighborhood and built environment)
  4. Cultural Competency (recognize and address the unique culture, language and health literacy of diverse consumers and communities)
  5. Medical Practice Transformation (quality improvement, care coordination, cost containment, rural health care, primary care, care for underserved/disadvantaged populations, patient-centered care)
  6. Current and Emerging Health Issues (e.g., opioids and substance use disorders, oral health as part of overall health, COVID-19)

PEP Assignments/Deliverables
PEP requires a commitment of time and effort.  PEP participants are required to attend at least 20 hours per semester of a combination of job shadowing, individual study and educational and discussion sessions. The curriculum includes required and elective components.   PEP students are required to write reflection essays each semester.  Guidance regarding the reflection essay is provided.

NOTE:  Job shadowing is temporarily suspended for the 2020-21 academic year and will resume when public health safety during the COVID-19 pandemic allows. 

Application to PEP
PEP has a competitive selection process during the fall of the second year at UVM.  Applicants are notified of their status by early January.
Application materials and requirements will be available in May 2021

In addition to a strong academic performance, the PEP Selection Committee expects candidates to demonstrate: an interest in pursuing a career in healthcare; maturity and professionalism; a passion for community service; and a genuine desire for learning more about health care delivery systems, population health, and the social determinants of health.

We recommend that all applicants complete the AAMC’s Anatomy of an Applicant Self-Assessment Guide to reflect on the Core Competencies that represent the skills, knowledge and abilities that health care providers should possess. 

Acceptance to PEP
Up to twelve qualified applicants will be accepted into the program each year.

PEP applications are reviewed by a Selection Committee that may include faculty members from the Larner College of Medicine, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Honors College, College of Arts and Sciences, and the Health Professions Advisor from the Career Center.  Final decisions are announced after fall grades are posted.

Selection decisions are based on a combination of application materials, GPA and an interview with PEP Selection Committee members.

To Remain in PEP
Requirements to remain in PEP will be updated and available by May 2021

Consideration for admission to UVM LCOM
The benefit of participating in PEP centers on the mentored exposure to medicine received over two and a half years. These experiences are likely to enhance and strengthen an application to medical school.  

UVM students who apply to UVM LCOM are eligible for an admissions interview if:

  • All science prerequisites are completed prior to application
  • All Larner application requirements are met and the AMCAS application is submitted by August 15th, preferably by the end of July
  • Student’s cumulative GPA is ≥ 3.5
  • Student’s MCAT result is ≥ 80th percentile (~509, though subject to change annually based on input from Larner Admissions Committee)

LCOM policies and application requirements are subject to change.  Refer to the LCOM Admission web page for official information.

LCOM admission decisions are made solely by the Admission Committee.