Ten Minority Students Begin Studies at SIU School of Medicine


Class of 2016 Minority Students (caption below)

September 14, 2012

Ten Minority Students Begin Studies at SIU School of Medicine

Ten minority students in the Class of 2016 started their training in August at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine.

“We continue to attract a diversity of students, which helps us address the health-care needs of the population,” said Dr. Wesley G. McNeese, executive assistant to the dean for diversity, multicultural and minority affairs at SIU. “Statistically, students from underrepresented groups are more likely to practice among underserved populations and to choose the general practice of medicine over specialization.”  

McNeese, who is a 1986 medical school graduate of SIU, attributes the number of minority students to focused recruitment strategies from the Office of Admissions, increased advocacy by the School’s diversity office and networking opportunities with local minority physicians.

All students in the class of 2016 began the year by participating in a “white coat” ceremony, which welcomes students into the profession. The class has 39 men and 37 women including seven African-American students.  The ten students in the class are:

● Andrew Adair is the son of Michael and Kathleen Adair of East Peoria, and he is married to Charlotte Adair from Danville, Ky.
● Joanna Aguirre is the daughter of Ausberto and Leda Aguirre of Houston, Texas.
● Andrea Iyekepolo is the daughter of Victor and Emily Iyekepolo of Houston, Texas.
● Markesha Jones is the daughter of Marvin and Shirley Jones of Jackson Miss.
● Carissa LaBoy is the daughter of Hernan LaBoy Jr. of Chicago.
● Jasmine Moreno is the daughter of Efren and Martha Moreno of Chicago.
● Antonio B. Martin is the son of Berdale C. Strong of Oakwood Village, Ohio, and Sonya A. Martin of Fairborn Ohio.
● April McNeill is the daughter of Mamie Batts of Fayetteville, N.C., and the late Milton McNeill.
● T. Lydel Newsome is the son of Cemoca E. Newsome-Carter of Laurel, Md.
● Monique Phillpotts is the daughter of Michelle Blanks of Chicago and the late Micheal Phillpotts.

During the ceremony in Carbondale, the students received their first white coats from the President of the School’s Alumni Society Dr. James Cunnar, a family medicine physician in Naperville and a 1994 graduate. The coats were provided by the School’s Alumni Society. 

The students also received a pin made up of the words “Compassion, Respect and Integrity” from the SIU Foundation.  The event is designed to establish a “psychological contract of professionalism and empathy” in medicine.

Currently a total of 44 minority students (15% percent) are enrolled in the SIU medical school.  “Minorities,” as determined by the Association of American Medical Colleges, are the racial and ethnic populations that are underrepresented in the medical profession relative to their numbers in the general population and include African-American, Hispanic, Native American and Alaskan Native.
Established in 1970, SIU School of Medicine is based in Carbondale and Springfield and focused on the health-care needs of downstate Illinois.  It educates physicians to practice in Illinois communities and has graduated 2,472 physicians, including 226 minorities since the first class in 1975.  Its website is www.siumed.edu.


Photo Caption:  Ten African-American newly enrolled students at SIU School of Medicine are (from top left) Markesha Jones, T. Lydel Newsome, (middle row) Monique Phillpotts, Andrea Iyekepolo, (bottom row) Carissa LaBoy, Joanna Aquirre, April McNeill, Andrew Adair, and Antonio Martin. Not shown: Jasmine Moreno.

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Springfield, IL 62794-9620
The mission of SIU School of Medicine is to assist the citizens of central and southern Illinois in meeting their health-care needs through education, patient care, research and service to the community.


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