Summer 2019 was intense and exciting for 80 rising college sophomores and juniors from across the country who completed a six-week Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP). To celebrate their accomplishments, Western University of Health Sciences held a SHPEP Completion Ceremony Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019 at Pitzer College in Claremont, California.

WesternU was one of 12 institutions nationwide hosting SHPEP. WesternU hosted the program for the third consecutive year, while nationally SHPEP celebrated 30 years of encouraging students from financially disadvantaged families and groups underrepresented in medicine to enter health professions.

WesternU received a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to provide an intensive residential summer enrichment program that supported students with fully paid housing and board, as well as stipends.

The Completion Ceremony recognized the students who completed the program and the faculty who led the morning curriculum, as well as teaching assistants and professors who led hands-on tracks in the afternoon in medicine, dental medicine, physical therapy, and optometry.

Also recognized were Den Parents Sean Rowan and Tanisha Hampton, and Resident Peer Advisors (RPAs) Marissa Valdovinos, Jeffon Stubbs, Jubilee Ahazie, Hector Cordero, Crystal Sin and Michael Simon. The RPAs were all past WesternU SHPEP participants. 

“As you prepare to leave WesternU and head back to all four corners of the nation and everywhere in between, I want you to think about one last question: ‘How will I make it a starting point for even greater success rather than the end of one six-week experience?’ College of Dental Medicine Dean Steven Friedrichsen, DDS, said during his opening remarks. “You are the future. Continue empowering yourself and others, because it is a critical asset that will help you convert your academic prowess and professional knowledge in a very challenging world of health care education and patient care.”