Tri-Institutional MD-PhD Training Program for Minority Students Receives $500,000 Challenge Grant

Dec 17, 2001


The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has pledged a $500,000 challenge grant over the next three years to help create a $1 million endowment for the Gateways to the Laboratory Program, a joint endeavor of Weill Cornell Medical College, The Rockefeller University, and Sloan-Kettering Institute. Gateways is a unique summer internship program which gives college students from underrepresented minority groups, who have completed their freshman or sophomore years with distinction, the opportunity to acquire one or two summers of experience in a leading laboratory.

Gateways to the Laboratory is part of the Tri-Institutional M.D.-Ph.D. Program of Weill Cornell Medical College, The Rockefeller University, and Sloan-Kettering Institute. The goal of Gateways is to provide students who have outstanding potential in the biomedical sciences the opportunity to test and develop their interest in pursuing a combined degree program, while providing the hands-on experience that ranks so high among the criteria for admission to M.D.-Ph.D. programs.

Students perform individual research projects at any one of the three institutions for a ten-week period. The program includes research presentations, seminars, journal clubs, clinical rounds with members of the Department of Medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital's Weill Cornell Center, workshops, career guidance, peer advisors, and mock interviews and MCAT exams.

Since it was established in 1993 as the first minority outreach program of its kind to be hosted by a M.D.-Ph.D. program, Gateways has enrolled 75 undergraduates. Of these, more than half have gone on to M.D., Ph.D., or M.D.-Ph.D. programs. Five Gateways alumni have been enrolled at top M.D.-Ph.D. programs. Twenty-four Gateways alumni are still completing their undergraduate education.

Dr. Antonio M. Gotto, Jr., the Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean of Weill Cornell Medical College, observed: "The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has provided a critical vote of confidence to Gateways to the Laboratory, for which we are extremely honored and grateful. This gift will create an endowment to sustain the program for years to come, and help us invest in the future of underrepresented minority college students."

Weill Cornell Medical College was established in New York City in 1898, as a co-educational institution, to provide its students with opportunities for clinical learning and laboratory-oriented instruction that were rare in the late nineteenth century. This clinical focus remains central to the Cornell experience today. The commitment to clinical excellence is underscored by Cornell University's formal affiliation with The Society of the New York Hospital—now NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital—since 1927. Weill Cornell Medical College is committed to excellence in research, teaching, patient care, and the advancement of the art and science of medicine. Its mission is to provide the finest education possible for medical students and students pursuing advanced degrees in the biomedical sciences, to conduct research at the cutting edge of knowledge, and to provide the highest quality clinical care to the communities it serves.