The Heyssel Senior Teacher Educator Partnership (STEP) Program at the MU School of Medicine matches first-year medical students with seniors in the community. Throughout a year-long partnership, the students and seniors meet monthly to engage in a variety of activities. These interactions, and the knowledge they provide, will allow students to become better physicians in the future.

The STEP program is rewarding for seniors and students. Our participants consistently praise our program. Some of the benefits include:

  • wonderful friendships
  • invigorating discussions
  • interesting lectures
  • lunches with students and peers

How the Program Works

The STEP Program begins each year with a kickoff dinner in mid-September. During the dinner, medical students meet their senior partners and exchange information so they can stay in touch throughout the academic year.

Four to five STEP events take place throughout the academic year at the University of Missouri School of Medicine. At the scheduled events, seniors and their medical student partners enjoy lunch together and take part in a discussion about a health topic of interest.

In addition to the scheduled events, STEP partners are encouraged to meet regularly on their own.

Activities our STEP students and seniors enjoy with each other include:

  • joining each other for meals
  • walking on the trail
  • attending MU sporting events
  • going to movies and concerts
  • card games
  • fishing
  • talking on the phone

Some seniors invite their students to accompany them to doctor and clinic appointments, giving our students special insights into health care for active seniors.

Get Involved

For students

The STEP Program is open to first-year medical students. Students may sign up for the program during orientation at the MU School of Medicine.

For seniors

If you're a senior interested in applying for our Fall program or have questions about the program please fill out the application.

Our recruitment is ongoing, but to be paired with a student this fall please contact Sharree Rose or call 573-884-1941 before August 15th.

We are looking for active seniors who are interested in mentoring medical students at the University of Missouri. Participants may join on their own or as a couple. You can take part if you are:

  • At least 65 years of age or older

  • Willing to spend some time during the school year talking/visiting with a University of Missouri first year medical student

  • Able to attend lectures at the MU School of Medicine.