About

Over 20 years of documented success in USMLE online and on-site coaching since 1996.

Empowering Medical Students to PASS the USMLE and COMLEX Exams

With 20 years of coaching students and a 94% pass rate, there is no question why PASS Program is the right choice for you.

Charting the Course: Our Early Days

PASS Program Begins
Dr. Francis starts PASS Program out of Champion, IL
Expand to In-House Teachings
PASS Program builds its own facilities to host all its lecture activity and house students as well.
Helps its 10,000th Student
PASS Program continues to expand and service students.
Move Headquarters to Houston
PASS Program moves to Houston and expands facilities and staff to serve growing needs of students.
PASS Program Clinicals
PASS Program Clinicals emerges to help students obtain clinical rotations through PASS Programs preceptor network.
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March 1, 1996
May 2, 2006
January 3, 2017
July 2023
September 2023

How We Started

At PASS Program, founded by Dr. Francis Ihejirika, we specialize in USMLE Prep Courses and COMLEX Prep Courses. Our mission is rooted in Dr. Francis’s personal journey from a struggling student to a successful educator, inspiring us to support students facing academic challenges. We offer a personalized, empathetic approach to USMLE and COMLEX Preparation Courses, understanding the unique hurdles each student faces.

Our Unique Approach

Understanding Over Memorization
Our innovative top-down approach in our USMLE and COMLEX preparation courses focuses on understanding essential normality in medicine. This method ensures students grasp core concepts, fostering a deeper comprehension rather than relying on rote memorization. We believe in nurturing a non-judgmental and safe learning environment in our USMLE and COMLEX prep programs, where every question is an opportunity for learning and growth.

Meet Our Team

Dr. Francis Ihejirika, MD

Founder / Director of PASS Program
Dr. Francis Ihejirika, was born in a small village of Owerri, Nigeria. He emigrated to the United States at the age of eight, two years after the onset of a Civil War in Nigeria. His family was in fact the first refugee family allowed into the United States in 1969. This required new legislation from Illinois senators at that time. Francis attended Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, graduating with a degree in Biology. He received his medical degree from the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Champaign, Illinois.

He did his Internal Medicine and Pediatrics residency at Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria, Illinois and enjoyed a very successful practice there for nearly 10 years. He returned to the University of Illinois College of Medicine in 1997 as a Faculty Member in the department of Pathology and became the academic support for the Urban Health Program which assisted minority students. Under his guidance, the pass rate and test scores for minority students increased significantly. He then developed, and is now current director of PASS (Physician Assisted Student Success) Program in Houston, Texas.

Dr. Diana Gonzalez Hernandez, MD

Instructor
Dr. Diana is a dedicated and experienced clinical medical instructor with a diverse background. Originally from Mexico, she completed her MD degree at Universidad Panamericana in Mexico City and has earned her ECFMG certification. With an extensive range of clinical experience spanning both hospital and office practice settings, she possesses a comprehensive understanding of medical care.
Having completed her orthopedic surgery residency at the prestigious Instituto Nacional de Rehabilitación (Mexico CIty) she acquired valuable expertise in the surgical field. Dr. Diana has also participated in clinical rotations in the US and Israel, notably she completed a trauma surgery rotation at The Chaim Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv, Israel and successfully completed her internal medicine electives at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital, thereby broadening her understanding of medical practices in the US.
Dr. Gonzalez Hernandez also has a strong background in research, encompassing both basic and clinical domains. She had the privilege of interning at the Institut de la Vision in Paris and throughout her career, she has been actively engaged in research projects, resulting in multiple abstract presentations and the publication of a research article, showcasing her expertise in research.
Driven by her passion for teaching, which began during her medical school journey, Dr. Diana is committed to medical education. She has teaching experience at both medical school and residency levels.
Bilingual in English and Spanish, Dr. Diana proudly stands as an alumni of PASS Program, serving as a living proof of its effectiveness. She firmly believes in the transformative power of education and mentorship, continuously striving to make a positive impact in the lives of students and colleagues alike.

Dr. Tristan Grimaldo, DNP, APRN, MHSM, FNP-C

Clinical Medical Education Program Director
Dr. Grimaldo is a doctoral-prepared & board-certified family nurse practitioner who has dedicated his career to helping patients achieve their optimal level of health. Dr. Grimaldo was the Chief Clinical & Business Officer of a men’s health practice which he helped co-found and grow to six locations in a matter of 8 years throughout the Greater Houston Area. Dr. Grimaldo is also an Associate Professor for TWU and teaches at both the graduate and doctoral levels.
In 2012, he graduated with honors, Cum Laude, with a Bachelor of Science in nursing from TWU. In 2015, he graduated with his master’s degree from TWU as a family nurse practitioner. In 2017, Dr. Grimaldo graduated with his Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), a clinical doctorate specializing in men’s health and fertility. In 2020, Dr. Grimaldo graduated with his post-masters degree for Health Systems Management & Administration (MHSM). Dr. Grimaldo received TWU’s Top Doctoral Student Award in 2017. He was also inducted into Sigma Theta Tau and Epsilon Omega Epsilon honor societies.
Outside of work, Dr. Grimaldo practices what he preaches as he loves weight training, running, and playing basketball. He enjoys spending quality time with his lovely wife and two kids. He loves to travel and considers Disney World the perfect family getaway. He is also a huge car enthusiast and an official YouTube Partner! Here is the link to his automotive channel: https://www.youtube.com/@TristanGrimaldo

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