The Tour for Diversity in Medicine visited the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff on Thursday to walk pre-med students through the process of choosing, applying to and paying for medical school.

The Tour for Diversity in Medicine visited the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff on Thursday to walk pre-med students through the process of choosing, applying to and paying for medical school.


There were 15 doctors who represented different fields, including dentistry, pharmacology and podiatry. They each explained the uniqueness of their journey to medical school. The tour gave pre-med students an opportunity to engage with someone who has been in their shoes. Participants were educated through several workshops, including tips for taking tests and interview skills.


The Tour for Diversity in Medicine is designed to educate and inspire a generation of minority physicians and dentists. According to Tour for Diversity’s website, African-American, Hispanic and Native American students are underrepresented in medical schools, which poses an issue in trying to increase the number of minority health providers. This information can be alarming when the recent changes in federal and state health care policies are targeting the health care disparities of racial and ethic groups.


The pre-med students attending the tour were told that their professional development starts while they are in college. From there, they were taken through steps on how to make themselves stand out among the numerous other medical school applicants. They were asked the question, "What makes you unique?" Dr. Deidre Young had the students to stand and repeat a mantra: "I have a story. You need to hear my story." Someone yelled from the crowd and asked Young, "What’s your story?"


"I was the first person from my block to graduate from high school," Young said, "the first to not have a baby in high school. The day before my ACT exam, my brother was murdered, a year older than me. He was supposed to graduate high school that year, he did not walk across that stage. I had to accept his diploma for him. I had every single reason not to take that ACT exam the very next day, the very next day."


Young used her story to illustrate to the students that there will be disparities throughout life and there will be a million reasons why they can just become a statistic. She encouraged them to push through and be a voice that knows what they’re talking about by educating themselves. She informed them that whether they come from privilege or poverty, they still have to do the work. She also informed them that their work starts now.


Not only were unique stories of hardships and struggles offered, but also information on how to access information from the Association of American Medical Colleges. The AAMC’s website provides resources for every step in the pre-med journey, from preparing for the MCAT exam to paying for medical school, and how to create a budget.


Also accompanying the minority physicians who spoke during the workshops were the tour’s co-directors, Alden Landry, MD MPH, and Kameron Matthews, MD, JD. Tour collaborators that were present to speak with students as they transitioned from one workshop to the next were: the Unites States Army, American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy and Midwestern University.


For more information on the Tour for Diversity in Medicine, visit their website at www.tour4diversity.org