Amani-Dasia Augustin ’23 gets professional boost from selective SUNY pre-medical program

A new pre-medical opportunity created by SUNY is helping New Paltz‘s own student Amani-Dasia Augustin ’23 (Biology) in her pursuit of a career as a pediatrician.

SUNY’s Office of Opportunity Programs and its medical universities created the Pre-Medical Opportunity Program at SUNY, in 2021. The innovative initiative seeks to address racial and income disparities in medical education by helping Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) current students in New York State to become future medical care providers. 

The program offers a range of pre-med program supports and services, from laboratory sessions and clinical exposure to academic coaching and supplemental workshops. The capstone experience is a summer residency at a SUNY medical university.  

For Augustin, who originally hails from Brooklyn, New York, that translated to an intensive experience working at Stony Brook University alongside other SUNY undergraduates.  

“It’s a great opportunity to connect with students from other schools who have similar ambitions,” she said. 

The hands-on learning included clinical lab simulations featuring ultrasound scans and blood tests. These were all new and incredibly valuable experiences for Augustin, well beyond typical classroom content.  

“These labs intrigued me in a different way, because they were a lot closer to what I will be doing as a doctor,” she said. 

The program also offered free  preparation exams and assistance studying for the MCAT, the medical school qualifying test. Augustin expects to take the exam after earning her bachelor’s in 2023.  

“What I ultimately learned is that medical programs look for well-rounded students, so I want to expand my horizons during my last year,” she said. 

After graduation, she plans on taking a gap year before applying to medical school, heeding advice from a faculty mentor in the program. 

“Sometimes, it’s a great idea to just give yourself that break, get any extra work experience or maybe extra classes, which will benefit you more than just going straight back into school,” she said. 

The Pre-Medical Opportunity Program at SUNY is expanding, from its initial cohort of 23 students in 2021 to 50 in spring 2022.  

“Research has shown that improving diversity in healthcare improves patient outcomes and expands research protocols,” said SUNY Interim Chancellor Deborah F. Stanley in a press release. “Breaking down barriers that have prevented individuals from groups traditionally underrepresented in medicine will have far-reaching positive impacts.” 

Click here for more information on the Pre-Medical Opportunity Program at SUNY