The admissions process for the School of Medicine has had an almost complete overhaul in recent years and the results are impressive. One of the most comprehensive improvements is to enroll and train health professionals who reflect the population of California.

For the 2012-13 academic year, we are on track to have nearly 110 medical students, of whom approximately 42 percent are underrepresented minorities – students whose ethnicities aren’t typically represented at medical schools, including Latino, African American, native American, and selected Southeast Asians, such as Vietnamese and Hmong.

This increase is due in large part to profound and innovative changes in our admissions process. Our entire admissions process was automated in 2010, allowing us a comprehensive review of all applications and a speedier progression in all phases of admissions, including initial offers within two weeks of an interview. In addition, we implemented the multiple mini-interview process in 2010, which has enabled a more holistic review of each applicant. In 2011, we initiated a personalized revisit program to all accepted applicants to each shadow a specialist of their choice, to sit in on a lecture, and to consult one-on-one with the financial aid team.

To support and sustain these changes, we will enhance various student support areas in the coming year, including additional academic support for our students by adding two positions to our Academic Services team. More details will be announced soon.

Also, representatives from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) will be here twice this summer, one to train our faculty, students and staff on the holistic review . The other visit by the AAMC Careers in Medicine team will train our career advisors, students, staff, leadership and faculty. The Careers in Medicine program helps medical students identify career goals, explore specialty and practice options, choose a specialty, select and apply to residency programs, and make good career decisions.

I thank the many people involved in making these significant, system-wide changes which will impact how we advance health for generations to come.