Science Medicine and Related Topics (SMART) was established at New Jersey Medical School in 1991 as a health and biomedical professions pipeline program. The goal was to increase the number of pre-college students who are underrepresented in health science fields and are interested in pursuing careers in the health professions.
During the initial stages, separate pre-college programs for economically & educationally disadvantaged students were developed and implemented to promote the value of science and medicine. In 1997, the original programs were refined, strengthened and ultimately unified. After aligning the programs with state education and national science standards, the SMART Program was tailored to individual grade levels and offered a challenging and stimulating experience. In 2011, the Office for Diversity and Community Engagement (ODACE) assumed leadership of the SMART Program and is dedicated to continuing its mission.
The mission of the SMART Program is to advance the understanding, knowledge and appreciation of science and medicine among underrepresented students who wish to pursue careers in medicine, dentistry, biomedical research and other health-related careers.
The SMART Program
The program’s functionality and strength arises from the fact that SMART’s pre-college students are guided by a dedicated team of NJMS faculty, staff and NJ certified science instructors within a medical school environment where medical resources are readily available. The students are afforded access to physicians, scientists, and a myriad of health care professionals. Students are taught in an environment which emphasizes hands on experiences, use of technology for research, oral and written presentations, interpersonal communication skill enhancement and teamwork & leadership. All math and science topics are consistent with NJ core curriculum standards.
The program consists of a coordinated set of programs for pre-college students (rising 7th - 12th graders) that include:
- Hands on activities via applied science, mathematics and technology
- Problem solving and critical thinking
- Oral and written presentations
- Career exploration
- Teamwork and leadership training
In addition, during the summer program, students participate in:
- Educational field trips
- Community service (11th & 12th grades)
- College and career counseling
- Develop superior personal expectations
- Enhance performance in order to achieve greater academic success
- Strengthen science and math knowledge
- Gain life skills necessary for future success
- Acquire knowledge of a variety of health careers.