In 2014, SHPEP formerly known as SMDEP, celebrated 25 years of helping aspiring health professionals. Please enjoy reading and listening to the impact we achieved over a quarter century.


For a quarter of a century, the Summer Medical and Dental Education Program has successfully empowered students to realize their dreams in health and health care. The free, six-week academic enrichment program has created a pathway for more than 22,000 participants, opening the doors to life-changing opportunities.

25th Anniversary Memory Book

The Anniversary Memory Book is journal about the history of SMDEP. It includes snapshots of reflections and insights; artifacts, photos, quotations, and the lasting insights of program founders, site leaders, mentors, alumni, and supporters. More than a time capsule, the memory book captures SMDEP’s impact over 25 years, connecting its past with the challenges of today and tomorrow.

 SMDEP 25th Anniversary Video

Inspiring 25 Stories

The Front Line of Medicine

Juan Jose Ferreris, MD
MMEP, Class of 1989
I believe the primary care doctor has irreplaceable value.

It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.

The words of abolitionist Frederick Douglass resonate for Juan Jose Ferreris, a pediatrician and assistant clinical adjunct professor at University of Texas Health Science Center. He sees a straight line between the public funds allocated for children’s care and their well-being as adults.

“Kids receive less than 20 cents of every health care dollar. Meanwhile, 80 percent goes to adult end-of-life care. Why aren’t we spending those funds on people when they’re young, when it could make a genuine difference?”

Ferreris contends that money also shapes health in less obvious ways. Salaries of primary care physicians are well below those of more “glamorous” specialists. Some fledgling MDs, burdened with medical school debt, reason that they can’t afford not to specialize. Consequently, he says, only 3 percent of medical students choose primary care.

For Ferreris, who is both humbled and inspired by his young patients, building a Culture of Health necessitates recalibrating priorities.

“Nobody’s concentrating on the whole; they’re only looking at one part. And they’re not paying attention to the human—the brain, the spirit, the soul.

“We overlook that aspect…but it’s where I believe the primary care doctor has irreplaceable value.”

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