UMMC hosts African American visit day

Published: Apr. 23, 2022 at 10:26 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - An article published by the American Association of Medical Colleges in 2015 found there were fewer African American males in medical school at that time than in 1976.

That staggering statistic leads a group of med school students at UMMC to start a program to expose African Americans to medicine.

In here, their ambitions are encouraged and reassured that a career in medicine isn’t reserved for a select elite but for anyone willing to work. Physicians at UMMC and doctors in training are hoping these students lean on that understanding.

“All of this is attainable if you’re willing to work hard enough and put in the effort in the front end in order to get to where you wanna go even though you may slip and fall sometimes along the way,” said Organizer Jamarius Waller. “If you have the determination and the willpower to actually pursue your dreams, you can do almost anything you want to do.”

Unlocking opportunities and exposing prospective doctors to what can be is like a dream come true for the Associate Dean of Admissions. Doctor Demondes Haynes says he didn’t meet his first African American physician until he got into med school. This is worth the investment of time and resources.

“Many students, and I was one of them, didn’t know or don’t know that medicine is even an option because you haven’t been exposed to someone that’s in medicine or a healthcare field at all, and so really, I hope their takeaway will be you can do this if you choose to pursue this path,” said Dr. Haynes.

Seeing is believing. That’s an idea Eric Lucas and Ivanna Adams-Nelson understand as second-year medical students coming from families of physicians. They both hope to bridge what can be a complicated path to medicine.

“You wanna have one hand up, and one hand back is what my folks always told me, said UMMC medical student Eric Lucas. “Pulling people up as you succeed.”

“It’s taking a type of resiliency to get knocked down, not make the score that you want, make the grades you want and still feel like this is what I want in life, and I can still achieve it,” said UMMC medical student Ivanna Adams-Nelson.

Coming up on June 18, young black men ages 12-16 can learn more about the healthcare field at the Black Men in Healthcare Empowerment Summit.

They will learn surgery techniques, talk one-on-one with doctors, and learn CPR.

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