About Pass Program
This program is the realization of a dream and a goal. And now, it has become a passion.
Dr. Francis Ihejirika, M.D. Director of Pass Program
I have always enjoyed educating myself as well as others. This passion was inspired at an early age for me. For, both of my parents were educators. And they instilled in me the drive to achieve the highest level of education that I wanted. I had a goal, realized at eight years of age, that I wanted to be a physician.
However, my journey involved much academic struggle, as it does for countless other students like myself. After sacrificing free time, social life and holidays in order to devote as much time as possible to studying, I made only average grades, most of the time either barely passing or barely failing. Like most students in medical school, I was memorizing information rather than understanding it.
My four years of medical school was one academic struggle after another. But, I survived! And, I graduated!
The academic struggles followed me into my Internal Medicine/ Pediatrics Residency. I was called before the residency chairman, put on academic probation and given a three month remediation program. All of this sounds bad, I know. However, it was during the remediation program that I met the person who would forever change more than just my medical career. In fact, he changed my entire life as well. His name is Dr. J. Shah; and he is a pediatric cardiologist at St. Francis Medical Center, in Peoria, Illinois.
Through his teaching, I began to understand what a concept was. And, I suddenly realized that one concept could explain a thousand details. I realized that it is far more important for a physician to understand one concept than to memorize a thousand details. I could not believe that this one man could inspire my brain to suddenly think in a way that it had not done; to understand more in a shorter time than I ever had; and to suddenly be able to integrate knowledge in a clinically meaningful way. I was now able to understand complex issues, even ones that I had not read about yet, simply by breaking it down into its basic concepts. I had discovered a power that I never knew that I had!
It is this same power that I now try tenaciously to help each student who attends the PASS Program to discover for himself. With this clearer understanding of medical knowledge, my medical Career became fun; I regained my confidence and self-esteem; and I made the commitment to teach other students what I had learned.
My pledge to each student in the PASS Program is that we will do everything we can to help you prepare for your exam, for your career, and for your future. I believe in your dream to one day become an excellent physician. We look forward to working with you and making you our next success story.
Our mission statement:
The mission of the PASS PROGRAM is to inspire, encourage and empower medical students and physicians who enter our doors. We will not only teach them the basic medical sciences, but we will teach them how to clinically integrate their knowledge. In other words, we will encourage them not to merely memorize medical information, but empower them to clearly and clinically master that knowledge. We will maintain a positive learning environment at all times so that no student will feel ashamed or be embarrassed of his or her academic situation. For, in the end, our true mission is to show other medical institutions that even when a student may not look so promising with a poor academic history, with the individualized teaching sessions we have with all of our students, most of them can be helped to develop into academically strong, spiritually empowered, and outstandingly confident clinical physicians. With God as our inspiration, this will always be our mission.
Francis Emeka Ihejirika, M.D.
Director of PASS Program Champaign