The threat of federal funding cuts has forced administrators of the Medical School's summer preparatory program for disadvantaged and minority students to seek private support, the program's head said yesterday.
Alvin F. Poussaint, associate dean of student affairs at the Med School and director of the Harvard Summer Pre-Matriculation Program said yesterday he expects the Department of Health and Human Services to discontinue a $90,000 grant to the Med School.
Poussaint, however, would not reveal where the Med School was looking for funds, saying he did not want private foundations to think he was pressuring them for assistance.
The grant has been the source of funds for the preparatory program's recruiting and tutoring services.
The program, which provides laboratory and research experience for students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, is designed to encourage minority students to consider an academic career in medicine. Poussaint said, adding that the nation's medical schools currently face a shortage of minority faculty members.
The program also provides preparatory classes in basic sciences necessary for medical studies.
"Cutting the program is something I would not like to see happen," Alvin Morales, a first-year medical student who participated in the program last summer, said. Morales, who may join the Med School's combined Ph.D. -M.D. program, said he found the program's research experience its most valuable part. He added that the program helped him adjust to the medical school environment.
The program also gives experience in classroom instruction to upperclassmen, who teach the preparatory courses under the supervision of faculty members.