Pre-Health LEAD

What is Pre-Health LEAD?

Pre-Health LEAD: Leaders Engaging and Developing

Pre-Health LEAD, which stands for Leaders Engaging and Developing, is a ten-month, cohort-based leadership development program for pre-health students from communities historically underrepresented in the health professions.

This includes students that are:

  • from racial and ethnic populations that are underrepresented in the health professions (AAMC UIM definition)
  • from rural communities
  • first generation students

Throughout the ten-month program, students will learn to identify, examine, develop, and reflect on the competencies that health profession programs are looking for in applicants.

The program was scheduled to run from February 2020 to November 2020, consisting of monthly in-person sessions during the spring and fall semesters (available on each UMN system campus), with an exciting summer one-week immersive learning experience to the Boundary Waters in partnership with Voyageur Outward Bound.

Campuses of the University of Minnesota System

The Pre-Health LEAD program was open for UMN undergraduate students from all 5 UMN system campuses: Crookston, Duluth, Morris, Rochester, and Twin Cities. Each campus will provide their own customized programming, yet all students will have a common shared Canvas site where they can engage with each other, in addition to activities throughout the year to for shared learning experiences. UMN system campus contacts are listed further down this page. 

The Pre-Health LEAD program is ideal for students who are in their Sophomore or Junior year.

Student Benefits

Students who participate in the Pre-Health LEAD cohort-based program will grow in the competencies that health professions programs are looking for.

Additionally, students will:

  • Build a professional network that will provide support when applying to a health profession program
  • Learn how to demonstrate competencies in a personal statement and in an interview
  • Receive a certificate of completion that can go on your UMN experience record
  • Engage in programming worth $2000 (per student) at no cost to you

Program Schedule

The planned schedule for the 2020 cohort included the following components. However, shortly after the program began, we went into an extended stay-at-home order and most of the in-person components had to be converted online. 

  • Monthly In-person Sessions (each UMN system campus will set their own schedule)
  • A week-long Outward Bound experience with a 7 member team in June in the Boundary Waters (June 8-14 or June 16-22)
  • The Student Unions and Activities Leadership Summit (Saturday, October 3 on UMTC Campus)
  • A final gathering in November


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Health professionals are often leaders in their workplace and their communities. Learning to be a leader is an important part of health professions preparation, and being a leader is more than merely holding a leadership position. Leadership stems from understanding and developing your high quality character traits, understanding how to work with and influence others, and developing the capacity to build a vision for change. Health professionals need to understand how to work with leaders from other disciplines, to share power, and to keep the patient or the community at the center of their work.

Self awareness is a fundamental concept that lays the foundation for all competency development. This includes understanding personal identity, culture, values, and more. Students in Pre-Health LEAD will grow in self-awareness, as well as build competencies through participation in experiential-based learning activities and reflective writing. What are some of these competencies desired by health professional programs?

  • Self awareness
  • Social skills
  • Teamwork and collaboration
  • Communication
  • Responsibility, resilience and adaptability
  • Critical thinking and problem solving
  • Empathy and compassion
  • Emotional intelligence

Read more about the Association of American Medical Colleges' Core Competencies for Entering Medical School Students.


Pre-Health LEAD (Leaders Engaging and Developing) is a program developed by the Pre Health Student Resource Center as part of the Health Profession Pathway Initiative. An overarching goal of the Health Profession Pathways Initiative (HPPI) is to contribute to building a diverse health workforce that is representative of the overall population. It is a system-wide effort to build more equitable curricular and co-curricular experiences and outcomes for pre-health students historically underrepresented in the health professions. 

This first year is a pilot program where we anticipate learning important lessons about leadership and competency development for pre-health students. 


The Pre-Health LEAD program was scheduled to run from Feb - November 2020, with a summer Outward Bound experience. 

Outward Bound Compass

Voyageur Outward Bound experience in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, a 1.1 million acre wilderness area along the U.S.-Canadian border in Northern Minnesota, was going be the centerpiece of this cohort experience, with teams of 7 students each participating in a boundary water experience in June. The activities that are typically part of that Outward Bound experience include canoeing, portaging, rock climbing, camping. 



All UMN students, no matter which system campus you are enrolled in, will apply using the same form. There is a lead faculty or staff person on each campus that will be responsible for reviewing student applications from each system campuse. That person will also be the lead facilitator for the campus-specific programming.

Pre-Health LEAD System Campus Contacts:

University of Minnesota Crookston 
Dr. Venu Mukku
[email protected]

University of Minnesota Duluth
Contact TBD

University of Minnesota Morris
Rachel Johnson, PhD
Associate Professor of Biology, Division of Science & Math
[email protected], Sci 1310

University of Minnesota Rochester
Jenn Hooke, M.S.Ed.
Senior Student Success Coach
[email protected], 507-258-8029