NYMC Participates in Black Men in White Coats Youth Summit

Mill Etienne, M.D.’02, M.P.H., at Black Men in White Coats Youth Summit

More than 300 middle and high school students, educators, parents, clinicians and community leaders joined New York’s first Black Men in White Coats Youth Summit, on October 22, at the Sonesta Hotel in White Plains, New York, hosted by White Plains Hospital. They learned first-hand about the journey to becoming a physician from keynote speaker, Mill Etienne, M.D.’02, M.P.H., vice chancellor for diversity and inclusion and associate dean for student affairs, and associate professor of neurology and of medicine.

Black Men in White Coats, was founded in 2013 by Dale Okorodudu, M.D., after the Association of American Medical Colleges released an alarming report that the already low number of black men applicants to medical school was decreasing. He sought to address the problem by increasing exposure to health care careers and access to mentorship for youth. The Black Men in White Coats Youth Summit did just that by providing a day for students from diverse backgrounds to discover the many opportunities in medicine and provide an opportunity for inspiration, networking and mentorship, as well as hands-on demonstrations including STOP THE BLEED training, basic first aid and CPR, sterile field preparation, central line insertion and respiratory/intubation simulation—all with the goal of broadening the talent pipeline in health care.

Following opening remarks from speakers including the Honorable Ben Boykin, Westchester Board of Legislators, and Westchester County Executive George Latimer, Dr. Etienne gave an inspiring keynote address, “The Transformation,” to the enthusiastic audience. He shared his journey to becoming a physician, the importance of having a mentor and the fact that there are better outcomes in minority and underserved communities when the providers have similar racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds to the communities they are serving. “It is important to note the exponential impact that even just one of you going to medical school can have on health care. Just one more black person in a medical school class also means that you have one more Black person on that medical school campus who will give the other medical students an opportunity to spend more time with someone who may be different from them, gain an understanding of that person and start to realize how much they actually have in common. You will have more cultural competence, more cultural humility,” Dr. Etienne told the audience. “You may gain more patient trust in the health care system since more patients will have an opportunity to have a physician from a similar background. This could lead to increased patient trust in the healthcare system and adherence to a treatment plan. This will also provide more role models to inspire the next generation of physicians and other health care professionals from diverse populations.”

An afternoon panel discussion on Back Men in White Coats featured panelists Antoni Bonner, School of Medicine (SOM) Class of 2025, and alumnus, Judith M. Watson, R.N., B.S.N., M.P.H. ’07, chief executive officer of Mount Vernon Neighborhood Health Center, Inc. “I shared the challenges I encountered as a Black person on the path to medicine and how I overcame them. The overarching message that myself and other panelists conveyed is that persistence and community were the strongest factors in getting us to where we are today.  It was incredible how many young Black and brown students there were taking a vested interest in their future at such a young age,” said Bonner. “Seeing how the parents, students, clinicians and local community came together to uplift these students was a truly rewarding experience. I hope to see many of them as physician colleagues in the future.”

Other NYMC medical students were in attendance as well. “It was inspiring to see so many motivated students attend the Black Men in White Coats Youth Summit. They asked insightful questions and demonstrated a desire to grow. These young people are the next generation of health care leaders, and I hope to see them again in the future summits to come,” said Rohan Gogoi, SOM Class of 2023.

“The Black Men in White Coats Youth Summit was a great environment and you could feel the excitement of the participants in the air.  It was a nice change of pace to interact with young students who have an interest in medicine. The event gave me the opportunity to give them advice and answer their questions,” said James Williams, SOM Class of 2026. “Most importantly, the summit allowed the attendees to meet medical students and doctors who look like themselves, showing that the possibilities are endless for what they can achieve. I am thankful to have had the privilege of attending.”

“I am grateful for the opportunity the Black Men in White Coats Youth Summit provided. It was inspiring to see the next generation of minority physicians reach for their dreams,” expressed Joshua Buckley, SOM Class of 2024.

Amy Ansehl, D.N.P., R.N., M.S.N., FNP-BC, associate dean for School of Health Sciences and Practice student experience and director of applied practice experience, as well as associate professor of public health, was a member of the planning committee for organizing the event and was pleased with the outcome. “It was nice to see New York Medical College play an important role in the event and help to close the racial disparities gap and encourage more underrepresented minorities to pursue careers in medicine and allied health professions,” she said.


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