UMMC hosts ‘Black Men in Healthcare’ empowerment summit

Published: Jun. 15, 2023 at 12:42 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Black males between the ages of ages 12-16 should consider a career in the healthcare field, the University of Mississippi Medical Center says.

The hospital system hosted a one-day summer program to encourage young black males to pursue careers in allied health professions by exposing them to medical fields.

Students spent a day at the medical center taking part in activities that include clinical simulations, touring health professional schools, and building professional skills.

Led by medical students and supervised by doctors at UMMC, the ‘Black Men in Health Care,’ empowerment summit, gave high school students the opportunity to see and learn from Black doctors.

“It’s almost like, you’re like your brother kinda. You know, I can look up to him a little bit. And I was like, mentoring a sense. And just like I said, it’s motivating to know that one day that could be me as well.”

Jamal Longino II says he’s taking AP classes at his school to work toward his goal of one day becoming a dentist but it doesn’t compare to seeing med students like Eric in action.

“If you don’t have mentorship, you can’t become what you don’t see.”

A 4th-year medical student, Eric Lucas is one of the students who helped make this idea become a reality.

“It started actually at my mentor’s house. Dr. Haynes, we were it was Super Bowl central of Super Bowl Monday, I think it was that year, we were all just hanging around and just made the comment. You know, I wish I had a summer camp to expose me to the things we’re doing now. and what started as a simple chat around the couch stuck turned into a plan of action.”

It’s been three years since that chat and the summit has been going strong ever since.

“We know that there is a need and a desire because over those three years, we haven’t had more than one or two, maybe a few more repeat students. These are new students that are coming in that didn’t come to the event last year or the year before.”

And while the road to becoming a doctor isn’t easy, Dr. Haynes believes that the motivation that these young men are receiving can be the first step towards making that happen.

“I think is the biggest piece of this puzzle that can say, yes, you can do this.”

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