From 2013 to 2015, a total of 28 students participated in
STEPS, 25 of whom met all program requirements. Of these
25 participants, 22 were accepted by a medical school (21
to schools in Kentucky and one to West Virginia); this
success rate of 88% exceeded the program's original goal
On average, students' MCAT scores were 4.6 points higher
than their practice scores. In 2015 and most subsequent
years, average MCAT scores have been approximately 7.6
points higher than practice scores.
There have been 57 participants in the STEPS program from
the 2017-18 cohort to the 2020-21 cohort. Of these 57
students, 36 of these students have matriculated to
medical school, with only two going out of state. Program
organizers attribute part of the lowered success rate
during this timeframe to COVID-19, which limited the
ability to hold in-person meetings. Additionally, since
many of the students' college classes were transitioned
online, there could have been some fatigue that reduced
the impact of the online MCAT prep trainings.
As further evidence of the STEPS program's success, the
NE KY AHEC has received a third two-year contract (July
2022-June 2024) from the Kentucky Primary Care Office to
replicate various aspects of the program among the
state's seven other regional AHECs, most of which had no
prior pre-medicine preparation programming. After
participating in 2018-19, the Northwest KY AHEC started
its own pre-medicine prep program for the 2019-20
academic year and still operates the program.
Continuation of the statewide MCAT Project allows
Kentucky's regional AHECs to track the results of
previous years' pre-medicine prep participants. Most
students participate as college juniors, so obtaining
2020-22 in-state medical school matriculation data has
allowed the AHECs to assess the results of the 2019-21
pre-medicine prep cohorts:
- 95 of 167 pre-medicine prep participants (57%)
supported by the Kentucky Primary Care Office during
2019-21 matriculated to medical school in fall 2020-22.
- 82 of these 95 matriculants
(86%) are attending a medical school in Kentucky.
Program coordinators presented STEPS and their
county-level medical school data tracking initiative at
the 2015 and 2017 National Rural Health
Association (NRHA) annual conferences, the 2016
National AHEC Organization biennial conference, and a
2018 HRSA Region IV Workforce Forum. An abstract titled
"Development of a Statewide, AHEC-administered Pre-med
Prep Project" was accepted for presentation at the May
2022 NRHA annual conference, in which NE KY AHEC Director
David A. Gross was joined by the directors of the
Northwest KY and South Central KY regional AHECs.
Due to the success of STEPS, the NE KY AHEC was presented
with the Center of Excellence for Distribution Award at
the National AHEC Organization's 2018 conference. The
award recognizes an AHEC program that is improving
healthcare workforce distribution throughout the nation,
particularly among rural and underserved areas and
For more information:
Gross, D.A., Mattox, L.C., & Winkleman, N. (2016).
Priming the Physician Pipeline: A Regional AHEC's Use of
In-State Medical School Data to Guide Its Health Careers
Programming. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and
Underserved, 27(4A), 8-18.