We are a team of medical students, residents, and staff across Canada and the United States who are passionate about eliminating individual and systemic financial barriers to medical school applications for applicants from low socioeconomic status (SES) backgrounds.
POD began in Fall 2018 as a parallel effort to the Community of Support (COS). Initially, the goal was to understand the various financial barriers to medical school applications. There was data showing a lack of socioeconomic diversity in medical student bodies across Canada, but a paucity of literature on the cumulative cost to apply. As we developed a greater understanding of all the costs, we recognized that tangible interventions were needed to open doors for students from low SES backgrounds. In 2020, we developed a national strategy focused on institutional collaboration, transparent admissions criteria, and demographic data, including programs that would subsidize the cost of applying.
In September 2020, we received funding for three years from the Council of Ontario Faculties of Medicine (COFM) to advise and support the implementation of this strategy. In our first year of funding, we have supported a variety of efforts that you can learn more about under our “Programs & Initiatives” page.
The dream of pursuing medicine should not be contingent on the price tag, and we strive to make this true, nationwide.
To diversify the socioeconomic demographic of Canada’s medical student bodies by reducing financial barriers to medical school applications via collaborative and action-oriented programming.
Community of Support
is a collaborative and longitudinal initiative that supports students who are Indigenous, Black, Filipino, economically disadvantaged, or who self-identify with having a disability at every stage of their journey to medical school. COS provided the initial vision for POD and has a vast network of students for outreach. This proximity to pre-medical students is vital, as the accessibility of our programs should be defined by applicants.
Council of Ontario Universities (COU)
has a subgroup titled the Council of Ontario Faculties of Medicine (COFM), composed of Deans from each of the six Ontario medical schools. They provided human resources funding to make the Ontario Medical School Application Fee Waiver Pilot Program possible. Furthermore, staff from COU were actively involved in giving feedback and leveraging their outreach avenues to increase student awareness.
Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (AFMC)
represents Canada's 17 faculties of medicine. They demonstrated leadership in developing the MCAT FAP and partnering with community advocates to reduce barriers to program utilization.
Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (OUAC)
processes applications for admission to the several programs at Ontario’s universities, most relevantly Ontario
medical school applications.