MARQUETTE, Mich. – Michigan State University College of Human Medicine and Northern Michigan University entered into an agreement today that provides a link between premedical students at NMU and MSU’s medical school. Officials from both universities finalized the Early Assurance Program for admission, which will help both disadvantaged students and underserved areas of medicine. The Early Assurance Program provides an enhanced opportunity for admission to medical school to qualified premedical students who wish to practice in the underserved areas. Preference for admission will be given to students who are the first generation to attend college, students who graduated from a low-income high school, those eligible for Pell grants or those who express interest in a high need medical specialty. “NMU is delighted to be a partner in this innovative, multi-university relationship, matching the interests of rural areas that traditionally have difficulties recruiting physicians with bright, motivated young professionals,” said Cynthia Prosen, associate provost at NMU. “The NMU institutional mission statement challenges our students to ‘… become productive citizens in the regional and global community’ and this partnership will foster the ability of these young people to develop their skills to enable them to serve as caring physicians in underserved communities.” “MSU is committed to ensuring a continuous pipeline of well-qualified students from Northern Michigan University to the College of Human Medicine,” said Dr. James Randolph Hillard, MSU associate provost for human health services. “This is a continuation of our partnership between our institutions with a long-term vision for enhancing health care in Marquette and beyond, as many of these students will likely return to the Upper Peninsula to practice.” NMU students interested in caring for underserved populations will complete a program of enriching clinical and service experiences, as well as academic advising directed toward admission to MSU College of Human Medicine. The emphasis on care for the underserved is at the core of the college's mission. During their junior year, students who excel in the NMU program may apply to the College of Human Medicine and selected students will be assured of admissionand begin a relationship with MSU College of Human Medicine during their senior year of college. There will be three seats reserved for this program. NMU joins Michigan Technological University, also announced today, as the Upper Peninsula universities participating in the MSU College of Human Medicine Early Assurance Program. Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids began the program as a pilot in 2008.