Swarthmore, Thomas Jefferson University Announce Joint Program

Clothier tower framed by fall foliage

The new program grants early acceptance to Sidney Kimmel Medical College for Swarthmore students interested in becoming physicians with expertise in health policy, population health, and community engagement.


Swarthmore College and Thomas Jefferson University are pleased to announce an early acceptance program for Swarthmore students interested in becoming physicians with expertise in health policy, population health, and community engagement. The program reflects an increasing focus on social determinants of health. Jefferson and Swarthmore believe that students with strong backgrounds in liberal arts, health policy, and the humanities will be leaders in the design and development of effective health care strategies. The program is part of Jefferson’s Medicine Plus initiative, an innovative approach to customized medical education.

As part of the program, the Sidney Kimmel Medical College (SKMC) Scholars Program will offer Swarthmore students the opportunity to work alongside Jefferson faculty engaged in a variety of local and global health issues. Students admitted to the program will receive a mentored summer experience in a health field of their interest between their junior and senior years of college. When they matriculate at SKMC, they will continue their scholarly work in health policy and population health, and complete a mentored relevant capstone project.

“Swarthmore has long produced doctors from diverse academic backgrounds who go on to be leaders in their field,” says Swarthmore President Valerie Smith. “Doctors trained in the liberal arts are increasingly vital to the profession for their ability to treat patients holistically. The fact that medical schools seek out Swarthmore students demonstrates that they appreciate the value of an excellent liberal arts education.”

Up to five Swarthmore students interested in health policy, population health, and community engagement will be admitted to the program each year. Gigi Simeone, Swarthmore’s health sciences advisor, will advise first-year and sophomore students on program requirements, including course selection and application procedures.

Applicants will be evaluated based on academic performance, career goals, citizenship beyond the classroom, and communications skills. Those who receive conditional acceptances will be considered SKMC Scholars and will matriculate at SKMC after graduation from Swarthmore.

SKMC Scholars at Swarthmore will receive a stipend for their six-week summer experience; additional enrichment opportunities are also free of charge. Additionally, SKMC will organize lectures and/or forums at Swarthmore each year that address career choices in medicine as well as issues in community, population, and global health. Swarthmore students will have the chance to visit community health sites and learn about their missions and efforts.