Dr. André L. Churchwell, interim vice chancellor for equity, diversity and inclusion and chief diversity officer, co-led a half-day summit recently for black men interested in pursuing health professions. The event, co-led by Dr. James Hildreth, president of Meharry Medical College, attracted more than 100 high school and college students from across the state and region.
The second annual “Navigating the Pre-Health Pathway Into Medicine: The Black Male Initiative” was hosted by the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance on Sept. 22 at Meharry Medical College. The alliance is a partnership between Meharry Medical College and Vanderbilt University Medical Center; Churchwell also serves as chief diversity officer of VUMC.
“Four years ago, Dr. Hildreth and I had an idea to host a summit to inspire the coming generations of African American students into the medical field and other health sciences,” Churchwell said. “With the support of the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance and the Science Consortium of Minority Schools funded by the Department of Education, we are proud to fulfill this call to action. We are starting a conversation that changes the paradigm and shows young people what’s possible.”
The summit Churchwell and Hildreth co-led was part of the larger 2019 MSEIP/Science Consortium on Minority Schools Conference at the Cal Turner Family Center at Meharry Medical College. The conference, “Empowering Minority Students into STEM,” focused on the overarching goal to improve the percentage of change in the number of African American students and women enrolled full-time in STEM degree programs; and those who graduate within six years of enrollment in selected HBCUs.
According to U.S. News & World Report, around 6 percent of today’s physicians are African American.
In addition to hearing remarks from Churchwell and Hildreth, attendees had the opportunity to interact and network with faculty, residents and students from both institutions and learn more about the graduate and professional school admissions process and financial aid opportunities.
To learn more about the summit and other connections between Vanderbilt and Meharry, visit the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance website.