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Students Underrepresented in Medicine Find Their Home at SIU

September 8, 2017

Thirteen students who are underrepresented in medicine (URM) began their medical training in August at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Carbondale. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) defines underrepresented in medicine as "racial and ethnic populations that are underrepresented in the medical profession relative to their numbers in the general population." The students participated in a white coat ceremony on Friday, August 11, in Shryock Auditorium.

“We continue to attract diverse students, which helps us address the health care needs of the population,” said Wendi Wills El-Amin, MD, associate dean for equity, diversity and inclusion. “Statistically, students from underrepresented groups in medicine are more likely to practice in underserved communities. Our commitment to diversity drives innovation and creates solutions to health disparities.”

El-Amin attributes the number of URM students to focused recruitment strategies from the Office of Admissions, increased advocacy by the school’s diversity office, networking opportunities with local minority physicians and MEDPREP, a two-year, post-baccalaureate program of SIU School of Medicine in Carbondale that has helped more than 1,000 students matriculate into medical or dental school since it began in 1972.

All students in the Class of 2021 began the year by participating in a “white coat” ceremony, which welcomes students into the profession. The class has 37 men and 37 women. The white coat ceremony is designed to establish a “psychological contract for professionalism and empathy” in medicine and is held at most US medical schools each fall.

Established in 1970, SIU School of Medicine is based in Springfield and Carbondale and focused on the health care needs of downstate Illinois. It educates physicians to practice in Illinois communities and has graduated more than 2,800 physicians since the first class in 1975.

Class of 2021 Underrepresented in Medicine Students:

Nasrah Acheampong, daughter of Issah Kwame and Samea Acheampong of Mampong-Ashanti, Ghana

Treshawn Anthony, spouse of Brian Davis of Hazelcrest and daughter of Tremayne Anthony and Michelle Hairl of Lansing

Ryan Bowman, son of Rosa Bowman of Quincy

Jasmine Davila, daughter of Jose and Eva Davila of Moline

Kelly Gorrell, daughter of Azliyati Azizan of Tampa, Fla.

Quentin Guillory, son of Karen Guillory-West of Lake Charles, La.

Shemariah Israel, son of Eluzai Israel and Audrey Moore-Israel, both of North Chicago

Jasmine James, daughter of Jo Ann Matory of Carmel, Ind.

Puja Mehta, daughter of Parul Mehta of Harrisburg

Roxana Moraga, daughter of Reinaldo Moraga and Jeannette Baez of DeKalb

Morgan Watts, daughter of Mike and Paula Watts of Waldorf, Md.

Alexander Worix, son of Vance and Dr. Cheryl Anthony-Worix of Crete

Robert Gause-Wills of Lansing, Mich.

Pictured: Treshawn Anthony and Nasrah Acheampong recite the Hippocratic Oath during Southern Illinois University Medicine's white coat ceremony, held Aug. 11 in Carbondale.