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School of Medicine Greenville hosts inaugural P3 Program Visit to campus

Erin Thomas, a junior at Claflin University, hopes to become an obstetrics and gynecology physician. “I am interested in women’s health and how to help women live healthier,” she said. 

Thomas acknowledges it is a challenging career path, but she has been setting goals and preparing for the next steps in her career — including by participating in the USC School of Medicine Greenville’s PreMed Partners Pathway program. The PreMed Partners Pathway (P3) program is designed to reduce health care and provider disparities, and to identify, educate, and prepare historically underrepresented undergraduates from South Carolina colleges and universities to successfully matriculate to the School of Medicine Greenville.

Thomas was among a group of 15 students and six academic advisors from the program to visit the School of Medicine Greenville (SOMG) campus Friday, Jan. 27 to take part in the inaugural P3 Program Annual Visit. 

College students from several partner colleges and schools in South Carolina attended the event. The half-day event featured support and informative panels from SOMG faculty and staff, physicians and residents from Prisma Health in the Upstate, and current medical students, providing tips and advice on medical-school applications, examinations, scholarships and other medical-school processes, and a tour of the campus.

The visit is part of an effort to ensure these students have additional support, advice, and most importantly, encouragement. 

“It makes me feel more ready,” Thomas said. The Claflin University junior plans to take the MCAT in July, and she aspires to matriculate in medical school at SOMG in 2024. 


A more-inclusive future 


P3 was envisioned by SOMG Dean Marjorie Jenkins and launched in 2022 after a year of planning. 

The program partners with various University of South Carolina institutions and select Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), each comprising large populations of historically underrepresented populations in medicine. Partnering institutions include: Benedict College, Claflin University, South Carolina State University, USC Aiken, USC Beaufort, USC Palmetto College, USC Sumter, USC Union and USC Upstate.

P3 strives to increase diversity in medicine by expanding the number of future physicians that come from a historically underrepresented background who also have a desire to provide inclusive care for marginalized patient populations. The hope is that a more inclusive physician workforce tomorrow in turn can help holistically improve patient care. 

The program is co-directed by Jameka Jackson, Ph.D., MPA Admissions DEI Pathway Coordinator at SOMG, and Melissa Eldridge, M.D. clinical assistant professor at SOMG. 

 “Quite often, many of our students will not have a family member or know someone within the medical field that can provide guidance — that social capital is not quite there yet,” said Dr. Jackson. “So that is why we make sure they have this additional support.”

Quite often, many of our students will not have a family member or know someone within the medical field that can provide guidance — that social capital is not quite there yet. So that is why we make sure they have this additional support.

-P3 program co-director Jameka Jackson, Ph.D., M.P.A.

Students in the program come from a variety of backgrounds, and can include first-generation college students, students who have experienced some sort of socio-economic disadvantage, students who speak English as a second language, or are from a rural background, just to name a few. Joining P3 as rising sophomores in college, students are paired with a mentor for formal guidance and informal counsel, participate in summer enrichment experiences and educational programs and gain access to test preparation resources.  

During a panel session with faculty and staff during the Jan. 27 event, much of the advice was practical. Jeremy Davis, M.D., a hospitalist with Prisma Health Upstate, suggested that aspiring medical students take advantage of standardized pre-tests to prepare for examinations. 

“It just gets harder at every level,” Dr. Davis acknowledged to P3 students. But hard work and dedication pays off, and Davis suggested that future medical school students dedicate at least two to three hours for every hour of undergraduate coursework, to promote academic success and prepare for medical school. 

Current SOMG medical students also reminded the P3 participants to remember during the process how far they have made it already. “Just go for it,” was the advice of Alondra DeSantiago, a current M2 medical student. 

The USC School of Medicine Greenville is committed to creating a pathway of medical students from underserved populations. The three-year P3 curriculum includes: longitudinal mentorship; formal guidance and mentoring; summer educational programs and relevant academic modules; and MCAT test prep and tutoring.  

The P3 Program is made possible through the generous support of a private family foundation based in the Upstate and other philanthropic support. For the inaugural P3 Program Campus Visit, local Greenville minority-owned partners, Suga Pie Honeybun and Dr. Walt’s Company, helped support the event.

For more information about the P3 program, please contact Dr. Jackson at or Dr. Eldridge at 

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