Cleveland State University Partnerships for Urban Health

Berkman / Jackson Fellows in Urban Health

CSU Partnerships for Urban Health

Berkman / Jackson Fellows in Urban Health

Berkman/Jackson Fellows in Urban Health is named for former CSU President Ronald Berkman, Ph.D. and founding Community Advisory Board President (and former Co-Director) Edgar B. Jackson, Jr., MD. This program is a diversity initiative for underrepresented minorities OR first generation students from Cleveland/inner-ring suburbs whose path toward admission to medical school may be nontraditional, including students who need additional academic support or are making a career change.  We are particularly looking for students from Northeast Ohio who intend to return to the area to practice medicine.  This program allows students to become more competitive and successful in the medical school admissions environment. Through coursework support, MCAT assistance, and a two-year urban health curriculum, students invited to this program have the added support, experience, and mentorship needed to be more attractive to many medical school’s admission committees.

To be qualified for the program, you should be from one of our target populations (African American, Hispanic Latino OR 1st generation college student and from Cleveland/inner-ring suburbs), have a GPA of near 3.0 or higher, and earned at least 60 credit hours including general biology (200/202 with labs) and general chemistry (261/262 with labs) by the time you plan to begin our program (you CAN apply while taking these courses,  but they should be complete BEFORE entering the program). Post-Baccalaureate students must additionally have a college degree and apply to Cleveland State and be accepted. CSU undergraduates need to only submit a "letter of interest."

You must complete two steps toward becoming a Berkman/Jackson Fellow in Urban Health:

  1. Post-bacc applicants must first apply and be accepted to Cleveland State University. Go HERE to APPLY.  If you are already an undergraduate student at CSU, and you will not be graduating this spring, you will not need to formally re-apply.  Simply submit a Letter of Interest as described below).
  2. All applicants must submit a Letter of Interest in becoming a Berkman Jackson Fellow in Urban Health.  The letter, which should be less than 500 words, should include content that addresses the following:
    • Why becoming a physician is in your career plan?
    • Any obstacles or barriers you’ve endured in your life course to becoming a physician.
    • Any unique circumstances, characteristics, or perspectives that you would bring to the practice of medicine in an urban setting.
    • Email the letter to
  3. Our team will carefully review your credentials and letter of interest, and let you know if you have been invited to interview with us. We will make final decisions about admission to the program after the interviews and a review of two recommendations.

Applications and Letters of Interest are accepted and considered on an on-going (rolling) basis and are limited by space in our program and course enrollment timelines.  While rolling, the suggested deadline for the letter is January 31st to ensure priority for interviews and admission. 

There is no additional application fee (over and above the CSU application fee). 

No scholarships or financial assistance are offered or assured by acceptance into our program (opportunities may arise when financial assistance is offered as a way to defray costs for tuition, books, MCAT prep, etc., but this assistance varies with fund availability).

We are looking for students we believe are excellent candidates for medical school but may not fully qualify for other programs that may provide early assurance. The Berkman/Jackson Fellows in Urban Health program will provide mentorship, course counseling, MCAT prep, and ongoing guidance to ensure that students are prepared for entrance into, and success in, medical school. 

For more information, or to see if you might qualify, please contact us at or call 216.802.3188.

Cleveland State University is the BEST place in Ohio to be a pre-medical student because we have multiple pathways to medicine.

CSU Partnerships for Urban Health