LEXINGTON — Cole Ratliff of Hazard High School attended a highly competitive and very challenging four and half week academic residential program at the University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center. This class’s average GPA was 3.89, with an average overall ACT score of 28.3 with an average Science ACT score of 27.9.
Cole was among 38 incoming college freshmen attending the Professional Education Preparation Program (PEPP Scholars). This program is designed to prepare students for a successful career in undergrad, as well as the admissions process for medical or dental school. Students are selected based on a record of academic excellence, outstanding standardized test scores, extracurricular activities, and a personal statement of “Why I want to be a Physician or Dentist?” The majority of students chosen to participate in PEPP Scholars are from areas of the Commonwealth with health professional shortages.
PEPP Scholars hopes to address the needs of rural areas by preparing students from underserved communities for the challenges of an undergrad curriculum demands, as well as the highly competitive health professions admissions exams. Students attend seminars and courses designed to provide a foundation in the sciences and an understanding of many critical issues in the healthcare field. They also learn about many areas of healthcare through hospital rotations in Labor and Delivery and Operating Room at the UK Medical Center. Participants also receive many dental experiences such as learning how to drill and fill on teeth, take impressions, as well as shadowing opportunities in the Dental Urgent Care Clinic and Oral Surgery department.
PEPP Scholars participate in many community outreach experiences and mentor activities, such as working with special needs camps, putting on bingo events at surrounding nursing homes, hosting parties for the patients out at Eastern State Hospital, and working with elementary schools by hosting health and dental related presentations. The participants also adopted a park this summer, Cardinal Valley Park, providing children in the community with health related presentations and crafts as well as games and activities.