Chancellor Malatras Announces First Ever Statewide Initiative to Help More EOP Students Get Into SUNY’s Medical Universities

February 18, 2021

Innovative SUNY for All Pre-Med Opportunity Program to Solve for Persistent Income Disparities Amongst Nation's Medical Schools

Builds on Longstanding Educational Opportunity Program and SUNY's Medical University Pathway Programs

Program to Begin in Summer 2021 with 25 Students with Expansion to Be Determined by Initial Results and Further Funding

Photos From Today's Announcement Are Online Here

Syracuse, NYState University of New York Chancellor Jim Malatras announced today the first ever statewide initiative to help more Educational Opportunity Program students get into SUNY's medical universities. Under the Chancellor's SUNY for All initiative, the Pre-Med Opportunity Program (Pre-OP) will help solve for persistent income disparities found amongst the nation's medical schools, with about two-thirds of students coming from families within the top two quintiles of family income ($74,870 to $225,251).

Building from SUNY's longstanding and important Educational Opportunity Program (EOP)—which serves New York State's disadvantaged students from underserved communities gain access and succeed in undergraduate programs—as well as the successful medical pathway programs at SUNY's University at Buffalo, Downstate Health Sciences University, Stony Brook University, and Upstate Medical, the SUNY for All Pre-OP will provide academic support, mentorship, clinical exposure, assistance with MCAT preparation, academic coaching, and workshops.

The SUNY Pre-Op is set to begin in Summer 2021 with 25 students, which would be expanded based on initial results and further funding. To be considered for the program, candidates must be a SUNY EOP sophomore or junior on a pre-medical track, have a grade point average of 3.2 or higher, and have successfully completed two semesters of general chemistry and two semesters of biology.

"The Educational Opportunity Program was groundbreaking in 1967 in acknowledging that too many promising students from New York's disadvantaged communities didn't attempt to go to college because they didn't believe they could succeed, and now over 50 years of resources and dedicated support by New York State has helped 76,000 students do just that,' said Chancellor Malatras. "History has shown us that well-qualified students from underserved communities often don't have the same opportunities to attend the nation's medical programs and we can change that in New York State. SUNY's new Pre-OP program will take our EOP program to the next level by empowering well-qualified students to enter and successfully complete medical school regardless of their economic means or background.'

SUNY Board Vice Chairman Cesar Perales said, "SUNY's Educational Opportunity Program has made a significant difference for thousands of students by making college possible to achieve. Today's announcement by Chancellor Malatras takes this program a step further to make the playing field for getting into medical school more equitable, a benefit for our students and also our institutions by having a more diverse student body. SUNY for All Pre-Med Opportunity Program is another example of SUNY solving for problems that affect today's students to ensure that they have a brighter future, and I look forward to seeing this program grow.'

University at Buffalo President Satish K. Tripathi said, "The University at Buffalo is very excited to participate in the SUNY for All Pre-Med Opportunity Program. At the University at Buffalo, we are committed to providing our EOP students with the necessary support to realize their personal and professional aspirations. The SUNY All Pre-Med Opportunity Program is consistent with our values to ensure all students with the academic background and desire have the opportunity to pursue their dream of graduate medical education.'

SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University President Wayne J. Riley, M.D. said, "Downstate is in a unique location that allows us to interact closely with a community that understands the importance of having healthcare professionals who understand them. Our ability to source, develop, and provide opportunities for lower-income students seeking careers in healthcare is bolstered by partnerships through our School of Graduate Studies that is preparing the next generation of researchers. Likewise, our College of Nursing is preparing underrepresented and disadvantaged graduate students with funding for advanced practice primary care roles. We continue to encourage partnerships that focus on how best to serve our very diverse community by providing options specifically for those who are underrepresented in healthcare careers.'

Stony Brook University President Maurie D. McInnis said, "We couldn't be more pleased to support and participate in this groundbreaking program. It matches our mission of ensuring equitable access to quality education for all students and offering world-class healthcare to our local communities, including those that have been historically underserved. Expanding EOP support and resources for those pursuing medical school will be a huge step toward equity in student success. Stony Brook University has a decades-long dedication to providing EOP opportunities, and we are excited to now help medical students explore different pathways to research innovation and clinical experience.'

SUNY Upstate Medical University President Mantosh Dewan, M.D., said, "Upstate Medical University is committed to admitting, training, and shaping the next generation of health care leaders. The new SUNY for All Pre-Medical Scholars Pipeline Program will allow more young men and women from a wider variety of backgrounds pursue their dreams of becoming a doctor—a profession that has never been more important or valued as we continue to fight COVID-19. The SUNY EOP has a long and commendable history of propelling students from disadvantaged backgrounds and we are eager to work with SUNY to help students find successful academic careers at Upstate and beyond.

Chancellor Malatras will convene a group made up of System Administration and the SUNY Medical School representatives to lead in designing the program to ensure compliance with the Liaison Committee on Medical Education accrediting body and to help select the students for Pre-Op.

A final plan for the SUNY for All Pre-Medical Opportunity Program will be provided to Chancellor Malatras by June 2021 before the first summer 2021 class, and will be comprised of:

  • Academic and psychosocial supports to successfully pursue careers in medicine, including:
    • Supplemental tutoring for gateway classes (organic chemistry, physics, biochemistry, and calculus)
    • Clinical and laboratory experience
    • Exposure to medical school environment and curriculum
    • Workshop/Seminar Series (health disparities, public health, and policy)
    • Virtual MCAT preparation workshops and study groups
    • Summer enrichment program
    • Research experience
    • Internships
    • Summer Bridge Program before first year of medical school
    • Academic and socioemotional supports for students once they are enrolled in medical school
  • Mentorship by identifying and pairing students with EOP alumni, SUNY medical faculty, medical professionals, or current SUNY medical students
  • Special admission consideration at the SUNY medical schools for successful pre-medical scholars
  • A system-wide EOP community of pre-medical scholars who will serve as a source of camaraderie and support for each other
  • Virtual test prep workshops and panel discussions related to medical school admissions
  • A clearinghouse of clinical and research experiences
  • Institutional partnerships

Since its inception in 1967, the EOP has provided access, academic support, and supplemental financial assistance to students from disadvantaged backgrounds, many of whom are the first in their families to attend college. In its 53-year history, the EOP has served more than 76,000 students and evolved into one of the country's most successful college access programs.

In the current academic year, SUNY had more than 10,000 EOP students on 49 SUNY campuses. EOP students often outperform their peers, with 74 percent of them graduating with a baccalaureate degree within six years.

SUNY graduates more than 11,000 health professionals every year, including one of every three medical school graduates, nearly one of every three nursing graduates, and one of every four dentists in the state. Enrollment for the 2020-2021 academic year is at 2,740 students. SUNY announced in December that it has received a dramatic increase in applications to its medical programs.

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2023, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunities, visit

Share this:


Holly Liapis
Email the Office of Communications