Mini Medical Students in their white coats outside PHSU St. Louis.

Fox 2 News in St. Louis recently featured Ponce Health Sciences University ‘s new Mini Medical School Program on their evening news program.

Click here to watch the coverage from Fox 2.

The Mini Medical School Program was launched at PHSU in early September 2023. Together with the CPASS Foundation they invited twenty 4th grade students from Jennings School District and University City School District to come to the St. Louis campus for 10 sessions. During each sessions Mini Medical Students will learn about the wonders of health sciences and healthcare careers through lectures, experiments and other hands-on experiences.

Student program leaders include 2nd year medical students Noni Meadough, Miles Charles and John Rolfes. Faculty mentors are Dr. Mildred Olivier and Dr. Fabian Santiago. This Saturday enrichment program helps students develop critical thinking skills while making connections with mentors and role models. Mini Medical School is offered at no cost to students and PHSU hopes to expand to include more students from the metro East next year.

Teacher with students

Limitless Healthcare Career Opportunities Await You. Apply for MSMS Today and get ahead on MD program learnings. Start your education at Ponce Health Sciences University St. Louis today.


I chose Ponce really because that they believed in me.

I didn’t think I was a competitive candidate for medical school.

I majored in anthropology. So when I was applying to med school, I had maybe a half as many science credits as anybody else going in.

I saw this opportunity to be part of a one year program that mirrors the MD or medical school and I thought that’s such a great opportunity to take.

You’re taking the same classes as a first year medical student. So it really puts you in a great position. One: to pass your classes the second time, and two: to also prepare you for step one.

It made me realize what I’m capable of and it boosted my confidence in succeeding as a medical student.

Coming in, I already know how I need to study what strategies I need to use while I’m leading up to each exam and how to pay attention in class.

I think it’s the intimate environment that you’re in. It’s a small school where you get to know every single person, there: student, faculty, staff. So whenever you’re studying by yourself, you could see all of your professors, your deans of academics just walking around and you’re able to converse with them.

The people here are really caring, they know that it’s challenging, and that these will be good skills for medical school or what you do with your degree. It’s well worth your time. It will be a challenging program, but it’s something that will build you up rather than tear you down.

Do it. Apply. This was the best decision I made. They molded me and they grew me into a better candidate and future doctor.

Woman working on a tablet


Many students who come into the MSMS program typically were not given a chance at medical school.

All the students coming in here, or most of them want to go into medical school, so we prepare them as if they were medical students.

The MSMS program is a one year graduate program that mimics our first year of medical school.

This is a way of exposing those students to what is it really like to be in medical school, because they take the same medical school curriculum

by developing this master’s program and being able to track the students through as if they were medical students. It’s why we have such high board passage rates. And with that data, I’m able to change the curriculum on the fly based on if they know it, or they don’t know it and help guide them down different pathways

I know that the foundation that I was getting here through this MSMS program was going to benefit me no matter what direction I went through.

We want to give you a chance as an MSMS student to show that you can actually go through the curriculum and succeed.

I had the same problem I was more afraid “Am I going to do well in med school? Will I be able to pass the classes and keep going on” coming to Ponce made me realize I’m perfectly capable of doing that.

You’re providing the student an opportunity to get a career that’s going to last their whole life, earn a good living, raise a family and help contribute to society. That’s what this program provides.

david leinhan in blue suit


So the mission statement’s very simple – to train culturally competent health care workers using research and academics to do it.

I was one of those individuals who went through medical school. And for some times, I was told that I just could not be a doctor. And I didn’t want that to happen to somebody else.

Having somebody who looks like me as a Hispanic female would make a lot of people more comfortable.

We need to start looking at how do we get students from inner city America? How do we get students from rural America into the healthcare workforce.

And so in this role, I think it’s important to train culturally competent medical students who are humble, who understand the barriers that exist when our patients try to get into the healthcare system.

The students that are going to go back into these communities of need are students from those areas.

Ponce’s mission statement is the reason why I did apply and not even just saying it, but actually doing it to be the change that we want to see.

Because we’re willing to take that risk and give students opportunities that no one else will creates a very unique type of school, something that’s very different than all the other 144 medical schools in the United States.