Premedical students at Sam Houston State University have more options for attending medical school following Wednesday's agreement with the Universidad Autnoma de Guadalajara.

The agreement gives SHSU students an edge over others applying for UAG's school of medicine which provides training in 14 medical specialties.

"It affords our students another opportunity to attend medical school," said Jack Turner, chair of SHSU's preprofessional studies program. "What SHSU says about that student will have direct bearing on the student's admission to the medical school."

That's good for SHSU students competing with over 6,000 applicants for some 1,000 Texas medical school openings each year. SHSU interim President Bobby K. Marks said the agreement channels outstanding SHSU students to UAG, benefiting both schools.

"With the shortage of family practitioners in the United States and an increasing need for Spanish-speaking physicians, UAG graduates serve a vital function," Marks said.

The scarcity of U.S. medical school openings combined with the family practitioner shortage make foreign schools an increasingly attractive alternative. In fact, about 30 percent of practicing U.S. physicians are foreign-trained. UAG alone has trained over 8,300 U.S. physicians in the past 30 years.

UAG graduates are board certified in every medical specialty, are licensed in all 50 states and practice in almost every community of any size in the United States with several hundred in Texas alone. UAG requires its students to meet all basic premedical requirements needed to enter a U.S. medical school.

"Potential students will find that the UAG facilities are similar to American medical institutions, offering similar curriculum and materials," said Rosalia Leao, UAG's dean of foreign students.

UAG is a private school and thus has greater flexibility in admitting students, but to be considered, applicants need at least 90 undergraduate semester hours, and ordinarily, a 3.0 GPA along with a medical college admissions test (MCAT) score of at least 24.

Students considering UAG will find it has one of the top-rated foreign medical schools, Turner said, complete with its own teaching hospital and a teaching faculty. UAG medical students are immediately assigned rotations in the school's outreach clinics and begin seeing patients from the start, presenting opportunities to work and learn in a clinical setting. After four years of medical school, UAG students can spend a year interning in Mexico followed by a year of social service there, or they can enter a "Fifth Pathway" program in the United States.

Those choosing the Fifth Pathway program must be accepted by a participating U.S. medical school, such as Brown University or Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, where they'll take a year of supervised clinical training. Upon successful completion students can begin graduate medical education leading to licensing in the United States.

Turner said U.S. medical school students are usually $160,000-$180,000 in debt after four years, compared with UAG medical students amassing $100,000-$120,000 in debt for a similar period. Both American citizens and permanent residents are eligible for U.S. government loans to attend UAG's school of medicine.

UAG was founded in 1935 and is the oldest and largest private university in Mexico. The coeducational university has 24 colleges conferring 49 undergraduate degrees, 26 master's degrees and two doctoral degrees.


Written by Paul Sturrock. Contact: Jack Turner at 409-294-1031, or e-mail bio_jct@shsu.edu, UAG media contact Kim Crider at iep@txdirect.net.

Jan. 31, 1996