SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — State University of New York Chancellor Jim Malatras announced on Wednesday that SUNY will double its investment in its Pre-Medical Opportunity Program to help more Educational Opportunity Program students get into SUNY’s medical universities.

Chancellor Malatras and President Mantosh Dewan met with the first class of 23 pre-medical scholars from nine SUNY campuses who are part of the Upstate Summer Residency.

Next spring, the program will be available for up to 50 students pursuing medical careers.

The initiative was was launched in February to extends SUNY’s long-standing and successful EOP, which ensures New York State’s disadvantaged students from underserved communities gain access and succeed in undergraduate programs.

SUNY’s medical universities are all part of the program—University at Buffalo, Downstate Health Sciences University, Stony Brook University, and Upstate Medical—to provide academic support, mentorship, clinical exposure, assistance with MCAT preparation, academic coaching, and workshops.

The program starts at Upstate Medical this week with lectures, laboratory sessions, and classes to prepare the scholars for medical school entrance exams and their final undergraduate credits. It will resume with four weeks of remote instruction in August, at which time each student will be matched with a mentor among the faculty at SUNY academic medical centers.

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.