The History of The PASS Program


The PASS Program was started almost twenty years ago here in Champaign, Illinois. The objective was to establish a place where any medical student could come to in order to truly understand medical information, beginning with the basic medical sciences. We wanted an environment in which a student felt no shame, no loss of pride, and no humiliation for the academic difficulties that he or she had suffered. We wanted to provide students with the academic support that they needed. And, in doing so, we wanted to help them find the academic growth, spiritual growth, and personal growth that they would need in order to develop into outstanding physicians of the future. We wanted them to look forward to, rather than to fear, the future.

Dr. Francis Ihejirika, MD., Founder and CEO, was very blessed in his residency to have met two outstanding physicians who helped him develop his mind, develop a stronger desire to be an excellent physician, and develop a much clearer understanding of the basic medical sciences and how to apply it to endless clinical situations. They helped him understand the “how” and the “why” of medical knowledge. In short, they made him think until thinking became fun, they made him learn until learning became fun, and they made him understand what he had learned, until understanding knowledge became his only goal. Now, with each session we conduct at the PASS Program, the aim is to pass on the knowledge, the understanding, and especially the excitement that these two men helped him discover and develop.

When PASS Program began in 1996, we were told that only 30% of foreign medical students pass their exams each year. The PASS Program achieved a 90% pass rate for these students in no time flat. We established a 93% pass rate in the first year of business for all students in general. We averaged, in our first year in business, an increase of 20 points to a student’s score if he/she had taken the exam previously and in the second year, and since then, we have averaged almost 40 points added to a student’s score. We have helped a student add 87 points to her USMLE score when everyone said it could not be done. We helped another student add 109 points to her USMLE score when it had never been done before. We also helped a young man add 400 points to a COMLEX score in the second year we were in business. All these are phenomenal achievements by these students when you consider the standard deviation is about 25 points and the national average for increasing points is about 5 to 10 points. In short, what we do here at the PASS Program works!

We have expanded our services to include helping many students save their medical careers by providing them academic assistance that they could not receive anywhere else. And their career, as well as their love of medicine, was revitalized. Throughout the history of the PASS Program, we have made it clear to all of the staff that we will NOT give up on any student who has asked for our help. This is a strong commitment for us because of the two men who did not give up Dr. Francis during his residency.

When this program began, we started out with only two students in the first class. Now, we help over a thousand medical students achieve academic success each year. And, we get the pleasure of knowing the PASS Program has helped in developing outstanding physicians for the future. We help each student increase their knowledge, improve their knowledge organization, improve knowledge recall, and improve their test taking skills.

Since the start of the PASS Program, Dr. Francis has dedicated his life, and the efforts of all of the staff, to the success of medical students and physicians. We have worked with dental students, nursing students, occupational therapy students, physician assistant students, residents, pediatricians, internists, ER physicians, rheumatologists, and orthopedic surgeons in addition to medical students from all over the country and the world.

We know that once you attend our program in Champaign, Illinois, you will be excited, inspired and you will indeed be empowered. We pledge to do everything we can to make this happen for each student.