Make a successful leap from high school to college and find your place at the University of Utah with Health Sciences LEAP (Learning, Engagement, Achievement, and Progress.)

About the Program

Heath Sciences LEAP is a four-year pipeline program designed to assist undergraduate University of Utah students who are interested in careers in medicine, pharmacy, nursing, dentistry, or health become competitive applicants to health professions programs. The selected students are part of the same cohort that is being taught by the same faculty member through the eight-semester program, taking one required course each semester. Being part of this learning community provides the necessary support and resources to help students succeed and have a more enjoyable college education.

Students selected for the program must have a demonstrated interest in health sciences careers. The University of Utah Health is committed to the recruitment of diverse students, knowing that diversity adds to the academic, research and civic responsibilities of the institution and the community. We therefore seek out students from populations traditionally underrepresented in the health professions, and who come from varied backgrounds including, but not limited to, racial and ethnic minority students or those who meet government definitions of economic, social, or educational disadvantage according to the following criteria:

Student has faced extreme hardships, or has a demonstrated financial need, as evidenced through the family’s income tax form (annual income falls below the poverty guidelines published by the DHHS). Please attach most recent federal income tax form.
Student comes from an environment that has inhibited (but not prevented) them from obtaining the knowledge, skills and abilities required to enroll in and successfully complete an undergraduate course of study that could lead to a career in health sciences. This includes, but may not necessarily be limited to, students who are in foster care, who will be first generation college students, or who are limited by their community setting (refugee, rural, inner city, or reservation.)
Student is not succeeding or is underachieving in school due to a limited proficiency in English; standardized test scores at their school are markedly below those of other institutions in the area; student comes from a financially poor school district; parents or other adults in the household are not high school graduates or have limited English proficiency; or student performance on standardized tests is below national norms.

Program Facts

• Prepares students for health professions majors & graduate programs
• Includes health professional shadowing, laboratory research, and individual counseling on career path preparation
• Supplies interaction with faculty and current students in the Health Sciences
• Provides small student group cohort
• Insures peer advisor & professor accessibility
• Has a support network of professors, counselors & advisors
• Offers assistance with financial aid, scholarships, university procedures & housing
• Offers priority registration for classes
• Requires no additional cost
• Is compatible with the Honors and other programs at the University of Utah
• Enrolls students who are accepted to and attend the University of Utah as incoming freshman
• NOTE: Continued eligibility in the program is dependent on maintaining a GPA greater than 3.0

HS LEAP Curriculum

Throughout the four year program, students take classes that fulfill regular university requirements, as well as introduce and prepare them for careers in healthcare. They are also supported by personal and academic advising, peer mentors, library and study skills courses, and yearly celebrations of their accomplishments. Below are the goals and objectives of HS LEAP by year:

First Year HS LEAP:
During their first year students take two classes, one in the fall semester that explores the experience of underrepresented communities with the American healthcare system, and one in the spring semester which engages them with current bioethical questions pertinent in all healthcare professions. These two courses fulfill the two general education humanities requirements and the diversity requirement.
Second Year HS LEAP:
The second year begins with a course in Health Professions Exploration. Students shadow health professionals, and hear a series of lectures from experts on race-based disparities in healthcare, cultural competence, collegiality and professionalism, alternative medicine, and medical ethics. In the Spring semester, students take a course that introduces them to qualitative and quantitative research methodology, and prepares them to work in research labs during their third, research year.
Third Year HS LEAP:
The third year consists of two semesters of Research Seminars where students learn how to report scientific research in various venues, such as medical or scientific journal articles, power point presentations with oral reports, poster presentations, and conference participation. Students are placed in University labs as research assistants, working an average of ten hours per week in a paid position. They present their research posters at the Undergraduate Research Symposium and publish an abstract in the Undergraduate Research Abstracts online journal. Fulfilling these program requirements entitles them to be recognized as Undergraduate Research Scholars at graduation.
Fourth Year HS LEAP:
The newly re-designed final year of the program is an independent study course that evaluates students’ individual career paths and their preparation for them. It emphasizes application procedures and preparation for graduate admissions tests, such as MCAT, DAT, etc. Assistance is provided with resume preparation, investigation of graduate education opportunities, drafting of personal statements, and practice interviews. Also, experts from various health fields talk about application procedures and professional life in their respective areas, and offer their guidance about how students could make their best cases for acceptance in the requisite graduate education pathways.

Questions? Please contact Kathryn Browning-Hawes at Kathryn.browning@hsc.utah.edu or 801-213-1258.
Application Deadline is May 3, 2019

José E. Rodríguez, MD

Interim Associate Vice President for Health Equity & Inclusion

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Contact Us

Phone: 801-213-1258

Kathryn Browning-Hawes
Programs Manager, Learners
Email: kathryn.browning@hsc.utah.edu

Office of the Associate Vice President for Health Equity & Inclusion
26 South 2000 East
5750B HSEB
Salt Lake City, Utah 84112