Bronx medical students among those to receive $42,000 in medical diversity scholarships – Bronx Times | SehndeWeb

Several Bronx medical students or those attending medical school in the borough have recently received scholarships aimed at bringing diversity to the medical profession.

The $42,000 scholarship helps overcome financial barriers faced by medical students from underrepresented backgrounds. The scholarship is available to medical students from backgrounds underrepresented in medicine (URIM), who commit to working in an underserved area of ​​New York State upon graduation. In 2017, AMSNY launched a scholarship program funded by the state legislature. The scholarship covered the tuition fees of 10 students. Last year, funding from the Cabrini Foundation enabled AMSNY to expand the scholarship program by 10 students.

URIM is defined as students who identify with one of four ethnic/racial categories, either as single or multi-ethnic/racial: American Indian/Alaska Native, Black/African American, Hispanics/Latinos and Native Hawaiians/Other Pacific Islanders. These groups represent about 31.1% of New York’s population, but only 12.1% of the state’s medical workforce.

In October 2021, the Associated Medical Schools of New York (AMSNY), a nonprofit organization that represents New York State’s 17 medical schools, released its medical school enrollment report for 2020-2021 and the number of freshmen who are defined as URIM increased by almost 2%, reaching 21.1%. It is the first time in these statistics being tracked for more than two decades that the percentage has exceeded the 205 threshold.

“AMSNY congratulates this year’s Diversity in Medicine Fellowship recipients, each of whom is passionate about medicine and improving health disparities in underserved communities,” said Jo Wiederhorn, CEO and President of AMSNY. “Through this program, we are able to reduce barriers to medical education for students from backgrounds that are underrepresented in medicine, helping to diversify New York’s medical workforce and reduce health disparities. health.”

The eight Bronx students or attending borough medical school are: Emelio Woodstock of the Bronx attends SUNY Stony Brook University; Obioesio Bassey attends Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx and was raised in Georgia; Bronx native Danya Contreras attends Upstate University; Jerlin Garo from the Bronx attends Einstein College; Nneka Onwumere is from the Bronx and attends Upstate University, Luna Paredes is from the Bronx and attends Einstein College; Jose Deliz from the Bronx attends the State University of New York, Downstate Health Sciences University and Robert Simmons is from the Bronx and attends SUNY Stony Brook.

“Twenty percent is worth celebrating, as long as we recognize we have a long way to go,” Wiederhorn said. “Diversity in medicine is important because we know that patients have better health outcomes when they see physicians from their own background.”

According to the AMSNY report, 11,193 students were enrolled in New York State medical schools in the 2020-2021 school year. Freshmen numbered 2,589, 21.1% of whom identified as URIM.

Additionally, a report, “Meeting the Challenges of a Diverse Physician Workforce,” released by AMSNY in 2020, found that the application process to enter medical school is another hurdle. which arrests many URIM students. It is recommended that medical school applicants budget $5,000 to $15,000 for the application process only. And those who are able to apply and are accepted can expect to graduate with $250,000 or more in student loans.

“This lack of representation has implications for medical care,” Wiederhorn said. “Physicians from underrepresented minority groups are more likely to practice primary care and practice in low-income and underserved areas. The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the urgent need to address health disparities.

Bassey, a first-generation Nigerian-American, grew up watching his parents struggle to provide the necessary care for his younger brother, who was diagnosed with autism at an early age. Her brother’s medical condition and her parents’ commitment to defending her brother inspired her interest in medicine.

In college, Bassey studied psychology as a specialty to better understand mental disorders. Motivated by disparities in health care minority patient outcomes, he earned a master’s degree in public health from Georgia State University. Now in his fourth year at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bassey looks forward to serving medically underserved communities. As a future physician, he emphasizes the importance of building trust between health care providers and the communities they serve. It plans to increase health literacy for underserved communities and implement interventions that address disparities in health care access and quality of care.

Bassey, 28, applied to colleges on the East Coast but felt a connection to the Bronx because his parents lived there when they were younger. Since moving to Boogie Down, he has felt at home.

“Overall, I really enjoyed the Bronx,” he said. “Compared to Georgia, I definitely like it more here. It was a great experience. I learned a lot about myself.”

Bassey, who will graduate in 2023, said financial support from AMSNY played a big part in her success in medical school. Students are often overburdened with loans, and AMSNY gave him a bit less to worry about, he said.

He said that during the COVID-19 pandemic, AMSNY staff were constantly checking in on how everything was going.

“Removing that financial pressure helps a lot of people make decisions that aren’t just based on money,” he said.

Bassey praised ASMNY for its program because many people come from communities where they have never met black doctors. He encourages more people of color to apply for the scholarship and said when he meets young medical students of color, they often feel more “open” to talk with him.

Looking to the future, he plans to stay in the Bronx and work in psychiatry.

“They want to increase diversity and give you a chance,” he said of the program. “They won’t neglect you because you’re black.”

Governor Kathy Hochul and the state legislature also recently gave a huge vote of confidence in post-baccalaureate programs on diversity in medicine. In Budget 2023, funding for AMSNY’s diversity in medicine programs was doubled to a total of $2.4 million. Additionally, the Legislature added $800,000 for scholarship programs – an increase of $250,000, which would cover four additional places.

In the 2022-2023 academic year, 30 medical students from underrepresented backgrounds will receive scholarships to offset financial barriers to a medical education.

Contact Jason Cohen at jcohen@schnepsmedia.com or (718) 260-4598. For more coverage follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes

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