Program Description

The Yale Summer Medical and Dental Education Program (SMDEP) is one of twelve national programs funded by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

All SMDEP program sites share the common goal of preparing students from groups under represented in medicine to become more successful applicants to medical school. Be sure to check the Student Guide to Yale SMDEP for a more detailed, student-oriented view of Yale SMDEP.

Program Outline

Yale SMDEP is a six-week intensive summer program for highly motivated first and second year college students who are considering a career in medicine. The Yale program has five primary components:

  • Science modules expose students to a problem-focused learning model of science education that is similar to that used in many medical schools
  • Writing and communication class offers students workshops and seminars that will improve reading and writing skills, including development of a personal statement for medical school application
  • Clinical exposure provides students with a variety of clinical experiences to develop an understanding of the doctor-patient relationship
  • Career planning and guidance in seminars and one-on-one sessions offers students practical and detailed advice and guidance about the medical school application process, including financial aid and financing a medical school education.
  • Biomedicine in the 21st century is discussed in a lecture series given by Yale faculty to give students an understanding of the breadth of career opportunities and the many challenges facing biomedical science in the years ahead.

Academic program

Yale SMDEP Student Yale SMDEP exposes students to an academic and learning environment very similar to what they would encounter as a first-year medical student at Yale School of Medicine. It is an intensive program of study which encompasses diverse topics in biomedical science. In both classroom and seminar settings, teachers cover topics in basic and clinical sciences as well as highly individualized instruction in writing and communication skills.

Students develop a foundation of knowledge and skills needed to become successful medical school applicants and future physicians. The SMDEP program does not offer MCAT preparation or review.

Science modules

Three two-week science modules are taught by Yale College science faculty members. The course materials cover concepts in physical and organic chemistry, fundamentals of genetics, cell biology, molecular biology, and biotechnology. Classroom lectures are complemented by small group seminars, problem-solving sections, and discussions groups for presentation and review of scientific journal articles. Students gain an appreciation of the individual skills medical students must acquire to master the rigors of a medical school curriculum.

Writing and Communications Course

All students participate in this course which aims to develop students’ abilities to communicate effectively in oral or written format. The course is taught in small group sections by Yale University Humanities graduate students/writers. As part of this course, students have the opportunity to begin work on personal statements for their medical school application. A diverse range of scientific topics from both science, social science, and humanities literature are gathered in a syllabus of reading materials provided to each student at the beginning of the course.

Career planning and development

Thorough a variety of lectures, seminars and informal activities, social gatherings, faculty host dinners, and individual meetings with program directors, students have numerous opportunities to discuss their career interests with Yale students, faculty, and administrators. These discussions occur both in groups and in one-on-one sessions. The program strives to enhance every student's opportunity for success and, at the same time, to demonstrate the rewards of dedication, hard work, and perseverance.

The Biomedical Lecture Series exposes students to diverse areas of biomedical science and investigation as they impact medicine and health care. Topics included areas in basic science and clinical investigation. The following topics were presented:

  • Hypertension
  • Race/ethnicity in medicine
  • International Health
  • Legal issues about adolescents in health care system
  • Opportunities for service in medicine
  • Medical Education research
  • Genetics/Molecular Biology
  • AIDS/HIV
  • Neurological Disorders
  • Child Abuse
  • Inherited Immunologic Disorders

The Pathway to Becoming a Physician seminars provide students with a discussion forum to learn in-depth information about the process of preparing for and applying to medical school. Areas covered include:

  • Educational/Psychological Assessments
  • Time Management/Organization
  • Note-Taking/Test-taking/Critical Thinking/Problem-Based Learning Skills
  • Diversity/Cultural Competency Training
  • Medical School Admissions - the process
  • Financial aid/debt management workshop
  • Setting up research experiences
  • Medical Student Panel
  • Medical Resident Panel
  • Women in Medicine Panel

Social environment

SMDEP Students on Yale Medical School Campus Yale SMDEP is more than just six weeks of hard work to prepare for medical school. Through organized and informal social activities, SMDEP students develop a new network of relationships and experiences that are remembered and valued for years. Yale SMDEP is especially proud of the diverse group of students who elect to enroll in the program each year. Students from many cultural and ethnic/racial backgrounds create a unique environment of cross-cultural exchange, mutual respect, and increased self-awareness.

Summer is an exciting time at Yale. All of the major University facilities function during the summer. The main campus of Yale College and Yale School of Medicine are located within a few blocks of each other. The City of New Haven has rich summer program of festivals, live concerts, and cultural events. New York City and Boston are easily accessible from the Yale campus by car, bus or train.

Teaching and clinical facilities

Yale SMDEP students have access to the clinical, research and educational facilities of Yale School of Medicine. Classes are held in the main medical school lecture halls and conference rooms located in the Ellen Hope Building and Sterling Hall of Medicine. Students also utilize the extensive facilities and collections of the Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library which serves Yale faculty and students.

Yale-New Haven Hospital, located on the medical school campus, is one of the leading medical centers in the world. Students are also scheduled for observational experiences in the surgical operating rooms, the autopsy room, and the emergency department.

Example of Yale SMDEP Weekly Class Schedule

MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday
8:30-11:00
Science Lectures

11-12
Small Group Problem Solving Sessions
8:30-11:00
Science Lectures

11-12
Small Group Problem Solving Sessions
8:30-11:00
Science Lectures

11-12
Small Group Problem Solving Sessions
8:30-11:00
Science Lectures

11-12
Small Group Problem Solving Sessions
8:30-11:00
Science Lectures

11-12
Small Group Problem Solving Sessions
12-1 lunch12-1 lunch12-1 lunch12-1 lunch12-1 lunch
1-2:30
Writing and Communication Seminar
1-5
Clinical Exposure and Physician Shadowing
1-2:30
Writing and Communication Seminar
1-5
Clinical Exposure and Physician Shadowing
1-2:30
Writing and Communication Seminar
3:00-5
Career Development Seminar
3:30-5
Biomedical Career Lecture Series
3:30-5
Career Development Seminar
5-7 dinner5-7 dinner5-7 dinner5-7 dinner5-7 dinner
7-9
RA office hours for basic science review
7-9
RA office hours for basic science review
7-9
RA office hours for basic science review
7-9
RA office hours for basic science review
7-9
RA office hours for basic science review

Stipends, covered expenses and living arrangements

All students receive a basic stipend and limited reimbursement for travel expenses. Students are housed at no charge in Yale dormitories and have an opportunity to interact with medical students who also serve as teaching assistants and dormitory counselors. There are several dining facilities located throughout the Medical Center and the main campus of Yale University. SMDEP students receive a discount in the Yale-New Haven Hospital cafeteria. In addition, many restaurants are within easy walking distance of the Medical Center

Contact for more information

SMDEP National Office:
General information and application materials can be obtained from the SMDEP National Program Office website.

Yale SMDEP:
Ms. Linda Jackson
Yale SMDEP Program Coordinator
P.O. Box 208036
New Haven, CT 06520-8036
203-785-7545 (phone)
203-737-5507 (fax)
linda.jackson@yale.edu