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A path to a medical education and career

College of Medicine highlights programs that promote diversity in medicine

Diversity in medicine saves lives. That idea supports two programs at The Ohio State University that were highlighted at the June session of the Wexner Medical Center Board of Trustees meeting today.

Four students across the spectrum of their medical careers discussed the university’s Medical Careers Pathway Post Baccalaureate Program, or MEDPATH , and Quinn Capers, dean of admissions at the College of Medicine, highlighted the Eastmoor Academy Biomedical Program.

President Michael V. Drake noted these programs are aimed at making medicine and health care more equitable and can have a direct impact on people’s lives.

“We have data, clear data, that shows that communities that are underserved have poorer health outcomes,” he said. “And those poor health outcomes are represented in disparities in health care and disparities in life experience that we can see broadly across the country and in large and profound ways.”

MEDPATH is a one-year program to develop the knowledge and skills of students before they enter medical school. The program is designed to increase the number of students underrepresented in medicine and students from economically and educationally disadvantaged backgrounds who graduate from medical school.

“Our College of Medicine is a national leader in training a diverse group of students that will serve the needs of our state. These students are examples of the type of talent we are able to attract and the success they have achieved by being part of Ohio State,” said College of Medicine Dean K. Craig Kent.

Miguel Ruiz, a second-year medical student and the son of immigrants, said the program offered him support and training for standardized testing.

“I was diagnosed with A.D.H.D., something I didn’t know I had until I was in the MEDPATH program. I was able to find the treatment and skills necessary to overcome these education barriers. MEDPATH made that possible,” he said.

Ruiz is currently working with La Clinica Latina, a free clinic designed to provide health care services to uninsured or underinsured Spanish-speaking patients in central Ohio.

Emmanuel Boateng immigrated to the United States as a 6-year-old with his family. He is now a third-year medical student. He said emphasis on mentoring in the MEDPATH program inspired him.

“The mentorship experience really inspired me to seek a career in academic medicine,” he said. “I went into academic medicine with the hope of mentoring students and molding these young, aspiring minds to become socially and culturally competent physicians who can go out and help people from all walks of life.”

For Faith Anne Roche, a fourth-year medical student, MEDPATH helped her overcome a series of family tragedies.

“But a silver lining has emerged: my determination and passion to pursue medicine,” she said. “Because of MEDPATH, I was able to attend one of the top medical schools in the country. Because of MEDPATH, I was able to achieve my goals while in this medical school. Because of MEDPATH, I was able to follow my dreams and become a physician.”

Sophia Tolliver, a third-year resident in the Department of Family Medicine, said the program helped her bridge a career in public health to one in medicine. She said the program improved her study skills and prepared her for medical school.

“I get to work in my passion, which is minority and underserved communities,” Tolliver said. “I’m also interested in mentoring the next generation of physicians and helping to increase the number of underrepresented minorities in medicine. None of that would have been possible without the great opportunity of the MEDPATH program.”

Students from Eastmoor Academy practice compressions at Ohio StateCapers leads a pilot program with the Eastmoor Academy Biomedical Program to bring students from the high school to Ohio State’s $13 million Clinical Skills Center.

The center is a state-of-the-art training center simulating actual patient experiences. Students from Eastmoor Academy studying the biomedical sciences get to use the center to get hands-on experience with the support of Ohio State faculty and students.

“These kids are learning about physics, and they come here and we teach them chest compressions. They learn about force and mass and they learn about how chest compressions and CPR keep the circulation going,” Capers said.

Approximately 80 percent of the students at Eastmoor qualify for free or reduced lunch, and 70 percent go to college – statistics that show an amazing level of achievement from the students, Capers noted.

“We think a lot about diversity in the medical profession. Frankly, we believe diversity in medicine saves lives,” Capers said.