Since 1979, the State of Illinois has been conducting quietly and without fanfare an extraordinarily novel and ambitious experiment in professional career development: the Chicago Area Health and Medical Careers Program (CAHMCP).  CAHMCP is cooperative project offered by the seven Chicago area medical schools and the state's three dental schools; Chicago State University, the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) and several health-focused community groups who have adopted the unified mission of increasing the number of qualified minority applicants and matriculants to medical and other health professional schools.  (The term “minority” or “underrepresented minority” (URM) refers to persons of the following groups who are underrepresented in the major health care professions:  African Americans, Mexican Americans, Native Americans, and Puerto Rican Americans.)

CAHMCP (pronounced “Champ”) is what educators term a longitudinal intervention or “pipeline” program; that is, it identifies and recruits its participants at a very early point in their academic development and provides successive years of very structured academics, counseling, motivational and financial support until its charges reach their long-range career goal—Graduation with the doctorate in one of the MODVOPPPP professions (medicine, osteopathy, dentistry, veterinary science, optometry, pharmacy, podiatry, and public health).  Presently, there are more than 800 active participants in the CAHMCP pipeline that extends from seventh-grade through the final year of health professional school.  Kids come to CAHMCP as relative “babies” and leave formal participation as neo-middle-agers.  Actually, some of CAHMCP's most stalwart and contributive members are the scores of medical residents and practicing MODVOPPPP professional who mentor their younger CAHMCP brothers and sisters.