July 23, 2014  

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Southern Miss Offers New Preprofessional Healthcare Assistance

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Dr. Jeffrey Evans

For students seeking help in navigating the mountainous paperwork associated with healthcare career planning, The University of Southern Mississippi offers an answer.

The Healthcare Preprofessional Office, which advises more than 500 Southern Miss students in health care preprofessional fields, is now led by Dr. Jeffrey Evans, a former Southern Miss faculty member. 

 “I am glad to be available to students helping them prepare for entrance into professional careers,” said Evans. 

Evans retired from the Southern Miss Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry where he served as professor and recently was professor at William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine. Evans has a B.A. in chemistry from Graceland College, Iowa, a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Kansas Medical Center, and completed a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the University of Connecticut Health Center. 

Becoming a medical doctor, dentist, or other health professional can prove daunting even before admission to a particular school or program. The task of completing admission requirements, applications and essays often discourages students unfamiliar with the process.

The College of Science and Technology’s Healthcare Preprofessional Office offers advisement services and workshops, and coordinates visits by recruiters from various healthcare professional schools to assist students in understanding how to become a healthcare professional. 

 “We were delighted when Dr. Evans agreed to serve as the Preprofessional Advisor this year. He brings a wealth of experience from his time advising students at Southern Miss and from his recent service at Carey’s College of Osteopathic Medicine.”

Evans is aided by Machell Haynes, preprofessional assistant. Evans and Haynes offer assistance with course selection, schedule planning and application processes for post-baccalaureate programs. These programs include medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, physician assistant, optometry, and veterinary medicine. The office aids in the preprofessional areas of cytotechnology, dental hygiene, health informatics and information management, and radiologic sciences.

The office supports two student-led organizations, Alpha Epsilon Delta (AED), the National Health Preprofessional Honor Society dedicated to the encouragement and recognition of excellence in preprofessional health scholarship, including medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine and others, and the American Medical Student Association (AMSA), a student-governed, national organization committed to representing the concerns of physicians-in-training. 

AMSA is the oldest and largest independent association of physicians-in-training in the U.S., and its members include premedical students, medical students, interns, residents, and practicing physicians.

“Both organizations, AED and AMSA, provide valuable tools and tips for students as they go through the application process for professional school,” said Evans. 

Services through the preprofessional office include a Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) Prep Course, offered during the spring semester of each academic year, to assist premedical students in becoming more competitive applicants to medical school.  The prep course is also appropriate for predental and other preprofessional students who would like to review Biology, Chemistry, Physics, verbal reasoning, and critical thinking skills before taking the Dental Admission Test (DAT), Optometry Admission Test (OAT), Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT) during the spring or following summer.

“We work hard to make information available to students so they can learn how to prepare for interviews, MCAT and other tests.  As part of their MCAT course, we assist them with their personal statements and professional materials,” said Evans. 

Most dental schools require that applicants have a series of up-close, hands-on experiences with several dentists. To aid in Southern Miss’ students successes, the Preprofessional Office, with the assistance of Dr. John Roberson, a local oral surgeon, has developed an externship program for predental students who "shadow" with local dentists.

The Predental Externship assists preprofessional students in becoming more competitive applicants to professional school by providing a hands-on experience in the dental field, so the student will become familiar with the sights, sounds, smells, and feel of this profession.

The Premedical and Health Professions Office is housed in the College of Science and Technology and is located in the Dean’s Office complex in the Chain Technology Building (TEC 103).

For more information about health professions at Southern Miss visit www.usm.edu/preprofessional