About a dozen students have graduated from a program that hopes to pave the way for more young people from minority communities to careers in medicine.
Among other things, they learned how to apply to medical school and met doctors they had something in common with.
Just by looking at each of these young faces, the diversity between them is evident. This week, they completed a program that gave them the tools to practice medicine.
They got their certificates.
David Cepeda, who was born and raised in the Bronx to Dominican parents, is entering his freshman year at Fordham University. Complete the Summer Health Opportunities Program offered by Montefiore Medical Center for over 20 years. Cepeda wants to help communities of color who struggle to access healthcare.
“I want to use my hands and my brain to help these patients because I understand where these patients are coming from. My parents are immigrants, and they faced a lot of challenges,” says David Cepeda.
Students were taught how to apply to the Faculty of Medicine and participated in interactive workshops. More importantly, they were able to meet doctors who looked like them.
“Most of the doctors I had the chance to see were Latino or African American. So, after I saw what they could be in this profession and how they could do it, I thought to myself, I could do that, too,” says Darlene Martinez, MD. the program.
Darlene Martinez from Harlem. She hopes to become a pediatrician one day. She saw how a trauma surgeon works and is now considering the profession after realizing how necessary it is in the Bronx.
“For example, there are many patients who have been stabbed. There have been shots. I am very interested in taking care of these patients and also keeping them healthy,” says David Cepeda.
Students are led by young coordinators who are already in the medical school. They provide direction and introduce it to others in the medical field.
Students are thankful for what they’ve learned, especially after the Supreme Court’s decision overturned an affirmative action that allowed colleges to look at race as a factor in deciding whether or not to accept an applicant.
“It’s going to be a little harder for us to get into, but we can go to medical school or be nurses or something,” Cepeda says.
“As a Latino, there aren’t many opportunities out there for us. I thought to myself: I can do that too,” says Martinez.
That’s why they say programs like this are so important, because they want to see more faces like the ones in hospitals.
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