Category Archives: Health Care Careers

RIT and SUNY Upstate Medical University create pipeline to medical school

medical setting with dark-skinned female, light skinned female and male looking at an anatomy textbook.

Rochester Institute of Technology and the State University of New York Upstate Medical University are offering a bridge program that guarantees qualified RIT undergraduates admission to the Upstate Doctor of Allopathic Medicine program.

Students applying to RIT can request to be considered for the RIT-Accelerated Scholars Program with Upstate Medical University. This new pathway to a traditional allopathic medical school education for prospective undergraduates from the United States could be an option for students as early as the 2019-2020 academic year.

The Accelerated Scholars Program is designed to mentor a diverse group of qualified students for careers as medical doctors, and will accept five students per year. Upstate will reserve a place for the RIT graduates to matriculate following the completion of their four-year bachelor’s degree. The Accelerated Scholars Program waives the Medical College Admission Test requirement for admission into Upstate Medical University College of Medicine, also known as SUNY Health Science Center at Syracuse.

The number of medical school applicants from RIT increased when RIT solidified its health brand in 2008 with the RIT & Rochester Regional Health Alliance and with the opening of the College of Health Sciences and Technology in 2011.

“Offering the option of direct entry to medical school gives RIT students an edge,” said Dr. Daniel Ornt, vice president and dean of the Institute/College of Health Sciences and Technology.

“The competition for medical school is stiff. There are nearly 53,000 applicants and fewer than 22,000 available spots. The RIT and SUNY Upstate collaborative removes the stress of the application process.”

The Accelerated Scholars Program places a priority on cultivating students with broad interests to become future physicians. While participating students must satisfy the general science requirement for medical school and maintain a 3.5 grade point average each semester, they are encouraged to sample and explore different disciplines during their undergraduate education, Ornt said.

“The RIT and SUNY Upstate partnership creates a pipeline for educating well-rounded medical doctors to help offset the future physician shortage as the baby boomers retire,” Dr. Ornt said.

Participating RIT undergraduates will be offered summer programming with Upstate based on the Association of American Medical College’s medical student competencies, including ethical reasoning, effective communication, critical thinking, cultural competence and other topics, according to Krystal Ripa, director of Special Admissions Programs at SUNY Upstate Medical University.

“During these summers, RIT students will also get an opportunity to build community with other students accepted to Upstate who are expected to matriculate together,” Ripa said.

Ian Mortimer, RIT vice president for enrollment management, said the RIT-Accelerated Scholars Program is the university’s first relationship with an allopathic medical school for RIT students.

“RIT is a great choice for future health care leaders,” Mortimer said. “RIT students gain a forward-thinking perspective that places them in some of the best medical schools and Ph.D. programs nationally. The direct-entry medical school option with SUNY Upstate Medical School reflects the high-caliber of an RIT education.”

Deaf RIT graduate defines strength in the face of adversity

Amie Sankoh in a long-sleeved light color top, jeans and ankle boots sits w/sculpture of a roaring tiger with trees behind her.

Amie Sankoh has overcome many obstacles in her life—and her walk across the stage during this weekend’s commencement ceremony for RIT’s College of Science will mark the beginning of a new chapter.

The biochemistry student, who is deaf and supported by the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, will begin studying in August for her Ph.D. at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. One day she hopes to use her expertise to conduct groundbreaking research on vaccine development and disease prevention.

As a young student in the west African country of Sierra Leone, Sankoh struggled due to her deafness and a lack of resources. Her parents, refusing to accept failure, made the bold decision to send their 12-year-old daughter to the United States where she would live with her father’s best friend and his family, attend better schools and ultimately gain more opportunities.

Sankoh’s breakthrough came in high school, where her love for mathematics and chemistry flourished. She also learned sign language, which enabled her to break down communication barriers with other deaf and hard-of-hearing people.

“Once I discovered my love for math, which was very visual, I knew that I could do anything with my life,” she said. “My mind was set on attending RIT/NTID because I knew that it was the right fit for me.”

Throughout her academic career, Sankoh participated in internships at top companies like Dow Chemical Co. in Pennsylvania and credits NTID faculty and staff for teaching her how to strengthen her communication skills, advocate for herself and develop her love for Deaf culture.

“My parents have always had very high expectations of their children, and they greatly value education,” she said. “NTID has given me the confidence to believe in myself and affirm that I can make it, especially in a tough science field. I’ve learned how to work with people who are hearing and deaf, study alongside faculty researchers and sharpen my interview skills. I just know that I’m going to make it. I work really hard.”

At NTID, Sankoh was a member of the Organization of African Students (OAS), Ebony Club, the Student Life Team and supported Spectrum, the LGBTIQ and straight alliance. And in March, Sankoh also become a U.S. citizen.

“Amie is an amazing person who exemplifies how to grow oneself,” said Joseph Johnston, director of RIT’s Center for Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution. “Amie’s resiliency and optimistic attitude provided such benefits to herself and the RIT community. She is a very special human being and is one of my favorite students I have ever had the pleasure to work with.”

Sankoh added, “Life is hard and we all have challenges. I’ve fallen and have gotten back up every time. I’m proof that there is always a way to overcome challenges.”

At the University of Tennessee, Sankoh will have 24/7 access to interpreting and notetaking services and will also receive a stipend to conduct her research. She said although her father is somewhat shocked and surprised at her achievements, she knew, deep down, that he expected nothing less.

“My father is so impressed by everything that I’ve been able to accomplish. And I’m so proud that he will be able to watch me cross that stage and move one step closer to my achieving my dream.”

Winners of the Next Big Idea 2-16

Winners of The Next Big Idea 2016

Update

On Wednesday, May 4, judges from ZVRS, sponsor of The Next Big Idea Competition, reviewed projects of the six finalists, asked questions and selected the folloing winners:

$5,000  First Place:      Team Ugyo; Ethan Young and Nicole Dugan

$3,000  Second Place   Team Dalmation; Adam Brodak, Keith Delk and Jefrey Spinale

$2,000  Third Place       Team ANOVA; Musab Al-Smadi, Michelle Chi, Steven McClusky, Radhika Mehra

 

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Six teams of deaf and hard-of-hearing students from Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf will go head-to-head May 4 during The Next Big Idea competition.

The contest—6:30 to 10 p.m. in NTID’s Panara Theatre, Lyndon Baines Johnson Hall—is an annual event where teams of students combine skills related to their individual majors to create products, technology or businesses that will be useful to the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. Teams work with mentors on their projects and compete before judges for cash prizes. The event is sponsored by ZVRS, a video relay company.

This year marks the fifth anniversary of The Next Big Idea.

Student teams are:

  • Anova— a voice-to-text translation system for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals that uses a mini processor and microphone.
  • Asymtotic—incorporates microphones, tactile feedback, pulsation and sound filters that vibrate to engage the wearer in important situations.
  • Dalmation—a software service that focuses on providing jobs, volunteering opportunities, networking and resources for the American Sign Language community.
  • Douror—a service app for deaf and hard-of-hearing patrons that helps with placing food orders.
  • Echo—a speech-therapy mobile app that allows users to practice speech and give instantaneous feedback to speech therapists.
  • Ugyo—an access-technology prototype for deaf-blind people with Usher Syndrome to improve communication with peers during meetings or other interactive settings.

“Every year the excitement around this competition builds,” said Gerry Buckley, NTID president and RIT vice president and dean. “Amazing projects are presented and some of them move quickly into the marketplace. We thank ZVRS for their support, and are grateful for the belief they have in our students.”

The event—free and open to the public—will be fully accessible for both deaf and hearing audiences. For more information, contact ntidoutreach@rit.edu.

RIT/NTID researchers study safety of electronic cigarette flavorings

RIT/NTID part of team studying effects of flavorings used in e-cigarettes.

RIT/NTID faculty and student researchers are developing methods to analyze the effects of flavorings used in electronic cigarettes. In partnership with RIT’s Kate Gleason College of Engineering and the University of Rochester Medical Center, RIT/NTID, the world’s first and largest technological college for deaf and hard-of-hearing students, is part of the team that has received a grant from the National Institutes of Health to conduct the study. More.

Inside RIT’s New Clinical Health Sciences Center

Photo by: A. Sue Weisler

The Clinical Health Sciences Center is the new home to RIT’s College of Health Science and Technology’s clinical programs, including Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ultrasound), Physician Assistant and programs in behavioral health. It also houses the Wegmans School of Health and Nutrition, and Rochester Regional Health Family Medicine, a primary care practice for RIT faculty, staff and dependents as well as the community. Watch video.