Medical education resources initiative for teens program in baltimore: A model pipeline program built on four pillars

Tyler E. Mains, Mark V. Wilcox, Scott M. Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: Less than 6% of U.S. medical school applicants are African‑American. The lack of diversity among physicians, by race as well as other measures, confers a negative impact on the American healthcare system because underrepresented minority (URM) physicians are more likely to practice in underserved communities and deliver more equitable, culturally competent care. Methods: MERIT (Medical Education Resources Initiative for Teens) is a nonprofit organization based in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. MERIT prepares URM high school students for health careers by providing a holistic support system for seven consecutive years. The program model, which utilizes weekly Saturday sessions, summer internships, and longitudinal mentoring, is built on four foundational pillars: (1) Ignite the Fire, (2) Illuminate the Path, (3) Create the Toolkit, and (4) Sustain the Desire. Results: Since 2011, MERIT has supported 51 students in the Baltimore City Public School System. For the past two years, 100% (n = 14) of MERIT seniors enrolled in universities, compared to only 20.2% of Baltimore City students overall. While it is too early to know whether MERIT alumni will realize their goals of becoming healthcare professionals, they are currently excelling in universities and over 75% (n = 17) are still planning to pursue graduate degrees in health‑related fields. Discussion: After piloting an effective program model, MERIT now has three key priorities moving forward: (1) Creating a sustainable and thriving organization, (2) increasing the number of scholars the program supports in Baltimore, and (3) expanding MERIT to other cities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-50
Number of pages4
JournalEducation for Health: Change in Learning and Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Diversity
  • Education
  • Pipeline programs
  • Under‑represented minorities
  • Youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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