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Rutgers BA/MD Program Helps Students Launch Early Medical Careers

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These Class of 2019 Arts and Sciences students started medical school in 2018

Eight members of the Arts and Sciences Class of 2019 have already embarked on their career as medical students as part of the BA/MD program now run by Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences and Rutgers University-New Brunswick. June 2018 marked the 30th anniversary of this innovative program. 

The Health Professions Office (HPO) in the School of Arts and Sciences now manages the BA/MD program. High-achieving Rutgers premedical undergraduates in their sophomore year can apply to the BA/MD program; accepted students complete all Rutgers core requirements by the end of their junior year. To celebrate their success, juniors join the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (RWJMS) white coat ceremony.

The eight members of the BA/MD Class of 2019 were welcomed by second-year BA/MD medical students, Varun Ranpariya and Josh Roshal, pictured above already wearing their white coats, for their White Coat Ceremony at the State Theater in Downtown New Brunswick in June of 2018. It was a beautiful ceremony with wonderful speakers and a public recitation of the Hippocratic Oath by both the new medical students and every physician in the audience.

After working with all ten of these students to launch them on their medical career, the HPO staff was thrilled and proud to see them in their white coats.  See what the students have to say below about how their experiences in the BA part of the program, SAS, and the HPO staff helped them transition early to medical school.

We were delighted to celebrate their success as they participated in the white coat ceremony in June 2018, and look forward with them to their graduation from Arts and Sciences in 2019, and to hearing more about their continued progress at RWJMS.


Meet the students below: 

Mihika Shah sq

Mihika Shah

How did you know the BA/MD program was right for you?

I've always wanted to become a doctor and the BA/MD program gave me a path to reach my goal faster. I've heard amazing things about the program even before starting my undergraduate studies at Rutgers. I believe meeting the faculty and students at RWJMS and seeing how passionate they were really convinced me.





Elizabeth CohenElizabethCohen

What are your favorite academic experiences outside of your major?

I did research at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey. I started as a freshmen and knew virtually nothing. It took many tries to finally split cells correctly so that they would live longer than a week.

Then I would go to weekly lab meetings and I almost thought the post-docs and PhD students were speaking a different language. I could not follow their academic conversations and research power point presentations. By asking many questions day to day things became easier and I started to love the lab and its complexities. 



Eshan Kaul sq

Eshan Kaul

How did you decide on your major?

Coming into college although I knew what I wanted to study, I changed my major countless times my freshmen year. I found myself infatuated with everything from biology to psychology.

In high school, I developed a love for learning about life: how is it possible that our group of cells is able to match their different tunes so seamlessly to create the glorious symphony we call a human? As such, it makes sense to learn biology to understand this. In college, my experiences lead me to develop a love for learning about people, their stories, why we are the way we are, and the beauty that our lives hold. Ultimately, I realized I could try and understand people from the internally through biology, and the externally through my direct experiences, and hopefully blend the two throughout medical school.


Susshuptha BalakrishnaSusshuptha Balakrishna

Do you have a favorite class within your major?

My favorite class was health psychology. It explained medicine and really all of healthcare within the context of psychology; why do we do things we do as patients, doctors, nurses, heath care providers, and many more point of views. 

The class taught me that medicine is tricky. Doctors can overlook empathy in many cases, mainly because they aren't aware of the causes or reasons of certain patient behaviors. It is vital to be vigilant and understanding when it comes to health care, but that can bleed into any aspect of life.



Keshav Patel sq

Keshav Patel

How did you know the BA/MD program was right for you?

Throughout my time as an undergraduate, I had been aware of the BA/MD program, but I did not come to realize how much the program's  features and the medical school's ideals aligned with mine until I stated to gain experience in the New Brunswick area and with the healthcare field in general. I was able to learn the New Brunswick community and its needs through volunteering and employment near the Rutgers Campus.

I worked in hospitals in various capacities, including volunteering, clinical research, and employment. These experiences inspired discovery of my true career goals. Looking for ways to achieve these goals, I decided to apply to the BA/MD program due to all the great things RWJMS has to offer. The program seemed to help me achieve my goals while allowing me to continue to learn and grow into the crucial role.



Yesha Parekh
Yesha Parekh sq

What are your other Rutgers activities?

In January 2017, I attended the Exploring HIV/AIDS Alternative Break where I provided physical and emotional support to residents of Project Lazarus in New Orleans, Louisiana who suffer from HIV/AIDS. I was paired up with a resident for companionship activities like reading and writing tutoring, yoga, meditation, dog therapy, and craft night.

I also work as a research assistant for clinical cancer drug trials at Regional Cancer Care Associates, LLC. I am responsible for recording, inputting, and analyzing data and conducting study close-out interviews for clinical trials that have been terminated.




Rae TaraporeRae Tarapore sq

What are your plans following medical school?

Currently, I am undecided in what medical residency I would like to pursue. Orthopedic surgery has been a major interest of mine for the past several years, while anesthesiology, gastroenterology, and pediatrics are interesting specialities that I plan on looking into. I plan to shadow physicians in these fields during my time in medical school to get a better idea of what specialty is right for me. 

Regardless of what field I choose, I will get to be a doctor in less than four years; for me, this is a dream come true and I owe it to Rutgers, the Health Professions Office, and the School of Arts and Sciences for giving me the foundation and guidance I needed to succeed.



josh roshal

 Josh Roshal

What is it about your chosen field that appeals to you?

At this moment in time, I am considering pursuing a career in Neurological Surgery. I believe that the human brain is one of the most puzzling entities of our universe and the prospect of learning as much as I can about the human brain and nervous system is very exciting.

I hope to be able to apply information I learn to help treat and cure various mysterious diseases that threaten not only our physical capabilities, but also the characteristics that define who we are as unique individuals.



Varun RanpariyaSQ

Varun Ranpariya 

How did you decide on your major?

Prior to getting accepted into the BA/MD program, I was pursing a major in Cognitive Neuroscience. This was in individualized major that allowed me to take course that I was interested in from multiple departments. The interdisciplinary approach was something that I really appreciated since it would expose me to Biology, CBN, Psychology, Computer Science, Economics, etc.

However, after getting into the program, I wouldn't have been able to finish the major so I switched over to a Biological Sciences major. Due to the overlap between the two majors, I was still able to complete everything in time.




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