Campus Life

New UWF partnership to help fuel UWF students’ medical school aspirations

Dreams of attending medical school will become much more possible through a new University of West Florida partnership with American University Antigua.

Students completing a bachelor’s degree in biology, marine biology, most interdisciplinary sciences, chemistry and the post-baccalaureate pre-professional program will have another opportunity to apply for entrance into medical school at Antigua’s College of Medicine.

“This is an innovative opportunity for the students at UWF,” said Judith Bense, president of University of West Florida. “It increases their menu of options and eases the way for admissions because the Antigua College of Medicine recognizes that UWF graduates have a quality education that prepares them for the rigors of medical school.”

The American University Antigua College of Medicine is located on the 14-mile-long island in the Caribbean. The private university was founded in 2004, has 1,700 students, a College of Veterinary Medicine, a College of Arts and Life Sciences (which includes the pre-med and nursing program) and a new $60 million campus which opened in January.

UWF provides a plethora of services and opportunities for health pre-professional students in support of their goal of gaining admission to a professional school. The agreement with AUA expands that support to enhance the chances of students who come from economically and socially disadvantaged backgrounds to realize their dream of becoming a physician. The AUA medical program is modeled after the U.S. medical school system, provides a quality education that is tailored to allow students to be licensed to practice medicine in the United States, has agreements in place with New York state that place its medical students in residencies and clinical clerkships in U.S. health-care facilities and AUA has a clear commitment to educating members of underserved populations to become physicians.

“Reactions have been uniformly positive in light of the ability of this agreement to open a door to medical school that has been previously closed to those who have been burdened by social, personal or economic issues that have prevented them from achieving the high GPA and MCAT scores required for admission to most U.S. medical schools,” said George Stewart, chair of Biology and director of the School of Allied Health and Life Sciences at UWF.

Angela Hahn, a UWF Health Science program advisor and instructor, works with Health Science students, many of whom are pre-professional and/or non-traditional adult learners.

“Over the years, admission to U.S. medical schools has become so competitive that a number of very qualified, highly intelligent and hard-working students aren’t able to get in. While the demand for MDs has increased in the United States, the number of slots for students in American medical schools hasn’t been able to meet that demand,” Hahn said. “This opportunity allows good UWF students a better shot at getting into medical school and eventually passing their board exams to practice in the United States.”

UWF has a vested interest in assisting its students with fulfilling their dreams. “As faculty, we see it as our duty to help our students succeed,” said Hahn. “Most UWF students are from this region and, my hope is, that they will come back here to practice medicine.”

Dick Woodward, vice president for enrollment management, American University of Antigua, also attended the formal partnership signing July 15 on the main campus. “We look forward to working with the University of West Florida and we look forward to developing more opportunities for UWF students in the veterinary field, and other disciplines that may that may allow them to pursue their post graduates career goals.”

For more information, contact Kris Behan, pre-professional advisor, at (850) 474-3060 or e-mail or contact Stewart at (850) 473-7226 or e-mail For more information about AUA, visit

By Susie Forrester, University Communications