School of Medicine

Wayne State University School of Medicine
March 21 Lampoon benefits Sit On It Detroit
In Headlines on February 24, 2015

The Aesculapians, the honor society of the Wayne State University School of Medicine, will let off a little steam with some good-natured ribbing while raising much-needed funding for a Detroit organization at the annual Lampoon.

“Scott Hall on Call – Late, Late Late Night With Wayne State Aesculapians” will take place March 21 at Saint Andrew’s Hall, 431 East Congress, Detroit. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 online at or $20 at the door. VIP tickets are $35 on the website or $45 at the door.

Lampoon consists of tongue-in-cheek skits and videos produced by members of the four medical classes. Each class produces about 20 minutes of material parodying medical school life for the evening’s entertainment. And while fun is the event’s watchword, Lampoon has its serious side, raising about $10,000 annually for a roster of Detroit charitable organizations.

This year Lampoon will benefit Sit On It Detroit, which builds handcrafted benches using reclaimed wood from abandoned houses and businesses throughout the city of Detroit. The benches are installed along bus stops that lack seating. The benches also serve as meeting spots and libraries because they have built-in book shelves.

Launched in 2013 by two Wayne State University urban planning majors, Sit On It Detroit has since built, installed and maintained dozens of benches throughout the city and has been commissioned to create tables, benches and artwork for other city projects.

“Sit On It Detroit believes in the principles of community, service, volunteering and improving Detroit, the basic pillars upon which Aesculapians was founded nearly 56 years ago, and still upholds to this day,” said Patrick Nolan, vice president of the WSU School of Medicine’s Class of 2016 and coordinator of this year’s Lampoon. “The organization’s enthusiasm and vision appealed to and aligned with the Aesculapians, whose members dedicate their time volunteering to better our greater Detroit community and city. The dedication and strength of our volunteers, and funds generated from the Lampoon show can only help take Sit On It Detroit to the next level and showcase it on an even larger stage within the great city of Detroit.”

Blogging Around the World: Christopher Sy in Nicaragua
In Headlines on February 23, 2015
Christopher Sy, a fourth-year medical student, is in Nicaragua this week with the World Health Student Organization.

Christopher Sy, a fourth-year medical student, is in Nicaragua this week with the World Health Student Organization.

The group gathers at the airport.

The group gathers at the airport.

Two students get in some computer time before flying.

Two students get in some computer time before flying.

Christopher Sy, M.A., a fourth-year medical student, is in Nicaragua the week of Feb. 21-28 for a medical mission trip organized by the Wayne State University School of Medicine’s World Health Student Organization. The Village of Siuna, Nicaragua, will host a clinic staffed by students and WSU physicians. The group also will conduct public health workshops and work on a community project to gain a better understanding of the patients they will see.

This is part one of two. Click here for part two.

Dia Uno - The Departure


My name is Chris Sy. I'm a fourth-year medical student at the fabled Wayne State University School of Medicine applying for neurosurgery. For better or worse I'll be the student blogger for a medical relief trip to Nicaragua organized by the World Health Student Organization on campus.

I'll tell all of you right now ... it's exciting to just get away from the bitter cold and hug that equator a little more. What was it in Detroit? Minus 10 degrees? Ugh. So yes, the improvement in climate is appealing (80 degrees and sunny in Managua, yeah I rubbed it in) but what is more enticing is what we are all going down there to do: bring medications, supplies and primary medical care to communities that are having a much harder time than even the Motor City. Those are just the tangible things. In doing so we also hope to impart smiles, inside jokes and hilarious dance moves. In short, our goal is not only to improve physical health but to foster an exchange of culture for emotional and mental health.

After all, medicine is an art as well as a science, is it not? Oh definitely.

All right, what's the lowdown on the trip? There are 19 of us in the group: 12 first-year medical students, three fourth-year medical students and four physicians -- three from Family Medicine and one from Obstetrics and Gynecology. As I type this, we are actually 38,000 feet in the air on the way to our layover in Atlanta. From there, we will be hopping over to Managua, the capital of Nicaragua, and then to a town called Siuna, and finally, a smaller town called Tadazna. We are linking up with a non-governmental organization there called Bridges to Community once we land.

We will be there for about seven days, of which we will hold at least five days of clinic. Word on the street is that Wi-Fi and many other amenities are not available outside of the capital, so I'm planning to send this first entry from Atlanta. I will be collecting photos and stories and other deep dark secrets (just kidding ... or am I?) daily for blog entries despite the supposed lack of Internet. Worst case scenario is our entire epic journey will be posted all at once when we return rather than day by day, but at least this one will get through.

We're all excited. We've left our scarves and jackets behind in exchange for sunglasses and mosquito nets. We've got a great group of individuals who aren't shy about being uncomfortable and stepping out of our Motown bubble. I hope I'll be able to accurately convey to all of you what we're up to, who we've met and what we've eaten (supposedly iguana is a thing down there). I'm also planning to collect shout-outs, so stay tuned. So far so good!

Dia Dos – The Journey to Don Gavino's (he is as legit as that sounds)

Today was full of 180s. Where to start?

Our goal today was to leave the capital Managua and eventually make it to the remote village of Tadazna. We spent the night at the Hotel Camino Real (which was nice and a stark contrast to the conditions in which I now type, but more on that later). I wouldn't be surprised if it was one of the top hotels in the country, and the subsequent breakfast buffet didn't disappoint. Side note: Starfruit juice is delicious.

After breakfast we made our way to the airport as our first stop, Siuna, was a one-hour flight. So more peanuts and in-flight movies, am I right? That's a negative. We ended up taking two propeller planes because all 19 of us couldn't fit in one. Although the turbulence was mildly upsetting for some, the flight afforded some amazing views – pictures/videos of which I hope will end up accompanying this post.

Once in Siuna, I think it's fair to say the hot, humid climate we've all been expecting/excited for hit us full blast in all its sweat-inducing glory. It was hot. Caliente, some might say. Our amazing guide from Bridges to Community is actually a native of Siuna so she was able to give us a formal introduction/orientation over lunch (consisting of chicken, salad, rice and beans.)

We hopped into a school bus and got ready for another one-hour journey to Tadazna on mostly unpaved roads. If you've ever ridden the neck-jerking Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland that's pretty much what it felt like, multiplied by 100,000. After passing innumerable potholes, stray dogs, cattle, bison, cornfields, pigs and roadside dwellings with red Claro brand satellite dishes, we finally made it to Tadazna.

We are staying at Don Gavino's house and all 19 of us are staying in a single concrete-wood room filled with bunk beds, dorm style. No running water and no warm water, which is not too much of a big deal as it’s probably something like 90 degrees. Naturally there is no WiFi and there are electric lights only sporadically. We have latrines and a new kitten friend we call Buttercup. Again, I'm hoping the numerous pictures/videos we are taking will be posted with this.

Supposedly there are tarantulas and scorpions and snakes and miscellaneous giant rodents/insects. I don't think any of us expected exactly this, but after talking with my colleagues it seems none of us would have it any other way. We know this is an experience that will give us perspective and personal insight into so many things. In addition to personal growth (and quite frankly the experience of a lifetime), we hope to help people in the small, honest ways that we can.

We went from freezing snow to humid, scalding heat. From hotel with a pool to farmlands and barrel showers. From Woodward Avenue in Detroit to the unpaved "calle" in Tadazna littered with roosters, horses and swine.

Oh Tadazna.

All in all, we're excited to finally set up this clinic and start seeing patients. Let's do this.

P.S. – Tanu would like to say “hi” to her Mom and Dad.

Dia Tres – Clinic Day 1 and Done


We finally had our first day of clinic and it was a hefty one. We ended up seeing 48 patients, including men, women and children who were bused in from even more remote villages. It being the first day, we had to start early to set up the pharmacy, triage and patient care areas. This meant waking up at 5 a.m., before the sun rises, but not before the dozens of neighboring roosters crowed us all awake at 1 a.m. and  every hour thereafter (no, they don't just call out once at sunrise as in cartoons).

Not sure why but we are always so hungry. Luckily we have a dedicated group of workers from Bridges to Community who cook us huge family-style meals that are as healthy as they are tasty. Most every meal consists of rice, beans, numerous vegetables and at least one kind of fruit. Meat is a rare treat here, but that does not stop us from eating like ravenous beasts despite our American/carnivorous nature.

So what did we see out here?

From my own experience there were a good amount of respiratory infections and respiratory problems due to environmental exposures. The burning of garbage is common in rural Nicaragua, with many households doing their own burning in their own yards. This allows potentially toxic pollutants to freely waft into homes. This, on top of a tropical climate, makes dehydration an additional issue here. I would say other common issues are parasitic infections, sexually transmitted diseases, gastric reflux and musculoskeletal problems secondary to lifelong manual labor. A big change for us is that, unlike our patients at home, most individuals here are rather thin and hypertension/diabetes is scarce.

The day was long. At times it was hectic. At any given time the sun could be bearing mercilessly down and the next sheets of heavy rain would cascade down. Throughout all of this, however, we still found time to laugh and smile and squabble over our limited supply of lollipops and Life Savers candy. We doused each other in gallons of DEET repellant while firing sarcastic jokes/comments that we all somehow (thankfully) find incredibly humorous. In short, I don't think we could have put together a better, more cohesive or more resilient group.

We're hoping to continue representing Detroit well and we're looking forward to what comes next. Bring it.

WSU student selected for National Hispanic Medical Association's leadership program
In Headlines on February 23, 2015
Dominique Sanchez

Dominique Sanchez

A Wayne State University School of Medicine medical student has been selected for the GE-National Hispanic Medical Association’s Health Professional Student Leadership and Mentoring program, designed to develop future national health care leaders.

Dominique Sanchez is one of 50 medical students nationwide who will participate in the program, which seeks to connect students with Hispanic physicians and leaders, to investigate the challenges and transformation of health care, and to develop foundational leadership skills in participants.

“I was delighted to be selected for the NHMA mentorship program because it’s an invaluable opportunity to connect with an NHMA-affiliated mentor and network with other senior members, including physicians and lawmakers, nationwide,” she said.

Emma Olivera, M.D., a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine and now a general pediatrics resident at Children’s Hospital of Michigan, will be Sanchez’s mentor in the program. “I’m really looking forward to collaborating with her on a research project as well as learning from her experiences in selecting a medical specialty,” Sanchez said.

The second-year medical student, originally from Lapeer, Mich., now lives in Southfield with her fiancé and three pets. While uncertain of the medical field she wants to practice, Sanchez is considering obstetrics and gynecology, dermatology and otolaryngology.

She serves as treasurer for the Class of 2017. She also is a member of the Student Senate’s Technology Committee and Career Advisory Committee.

As part of the program, Sanchez will attend the NHMA’s 19th annual conference in Washington, D.C., which will include visiting Capitol Hill and the opportunity to meet with politicians and express her views and opinions on health-related matters. “I feel blessed to have been chosen for this program and I believe that this will no doubt be an invaluable experience for which I will be able to utilize my other strengths, including what I have learned about advocacy as a part of Medicine and Political Action in the Community here at the School of Medicine,” she said.

Sanchez joined MPAC to learn how to navigate the world of politics to advocate for her future patients. “I have a specific interest in the health of Hispanic women and children, stemming a lot from my experiences this past summer as a public health extern. I also had hoped to learn more about the Affordable Care Act and how it is anticipated to affect physicians and patients alike. I believe that as we move toward a more social health care model, lawmakers and physicians will be inextricably linked, and I want to be prepared to navigate those relationships.”

Lisa MacLean, M.D., assistant dean of Student Affairs and Career Development for the School of Medicine, nominated Sanchez for the program. “Since entering medical school, Ms. Sanchez has demonstrated both her ability to lead and mentor as well as to be led and mentored. Her experiences make her uniquely qualified for this program as she grows and develops into the physician leader she will become in the future.”

In 2013, Sanchez went on her first of two mission trips in support of a Montessori school in the Dominican Republic. She and other volunteers brought school supplies and worked with the students, many of them descendants of Haitians brought into the country to work sugar cane plantations.

“Our hope in helping with this program is that these kids, although a small group, will have pride in their community and continue this work for other children of the community once they are adults,” Sanchez said. “It’s a very grassroots approach. We work to show these kids that they are important and can achieve great dreams outside of sports with the proper determination.”

In August 2014, Sanchez began sponsoring a child who attends the school. She hopes to visit the school again this summer.

As a member of the Amigos Medicos Friends in Medicine student organization, she teaches fellow students Spanish language basics. Last summer she worked as a public health extern with Centro Multicultural La Familia, a non-profit Detroit organization working to provide culturally-competent support services to families in a holistic approach. Sanchez assisted educators with Early Head Start home visits and disseminated health information to Hispanic immigrant families.

Gifted surgeon and WSUSOM graduate leaves legacy to advance cancer research
In Headlines on February 20, 2015
Kathryn Cramer, M.D.

Kathryn Cramer, M.D.

Philip Philip, M.D., Ph.D.

Philip Philip, M.D., Ph.D.

As a young girl growing up in Monroe, Mich., Kathryn Cramer knew that she wanted to be a physician and an educator. The 1986 graduate of the Wayne State University School of Medicine and faculty member worked hard to achieve her goal, becoming a successful orthopaedic surgeon who was an inspirational force in what was then a male-dominated field.

Dr. Cramer was diagnosed with breast cancer in the late 1990s but that did not stop her from doing all she could to help her patients. At the time, she was one of only two female orthopaedic surgeons in the country specialized in both pediatrics and trauma. She lost her battle with breast cancer in 2005 at the age of 44, yet she continues to leave her indelible mark to help improve the lives of others through a charitable remainder trust that has recently resulted in a gift of more than $1.4 million to the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute.

The gift will be used to establish the Kathryn E. Cramer, M.D., Endowed Chair for Cancer Research at Karmanos Cancer Institute. It was Dr. Cramer’s wish to honor her medical oncologist, Philip Philip, M.D., Ph.D., F.R.C.P., professor of Internal Medicine and Oncology for the Wayne State University School of Medicine and Karmanos, as the first endowed chair and to support cancer research.

“I am honored and humbled to be remembered by Dr. Cramer with this high recognition, naming me the first Kathryn E. Cramer, M.D., Endowed Chair for Cancer Research,” said Dr. Philip, leader of the Gastrointestinal and Neuroendocrine Tumors Multi-Disciplinary Team at Karmanos. “Dr. Cramer was a young, accomplished surgeon who continued to do all she could for her patients, before and after her diagnoses. Her passion was to help her patients through their injury recovery so that they could return to a high functional, quality life. She accomplished that and so much more. Now, with this gift, she will continue to benefit others for years to come.”

Dr. Cramer was a gifted orthopaedic surgeon who was sought by health institutions across the country. However, she decided to return to Detroit to help her family care for loved ones and deal with the death of both parents within a short period. She spent the rest of her career in Detroit, dedicated to those she loved, as well as her patients.

Ann Cramer, the sister of Dr. Cramer, speaking on behalf of her family, said, “Kathy spent her entire life helping others, so it’s fitting that she continues to positively impact others long after she has left us. Her legacy remains, not only in the gifts that she wanted shared but in the way she lived the short time God gave her. She always worked hard, always played hard, always fought for her patients and others, always loved and never gave up. We hope that this gift will help Karmanos scientists find answers to the riddle that cancer poses to help prevent other families from experiencing the loss of a loved one.”

“We are truly grateful for this incredible gift resulting from Dr. Cramer’s vision to advance cancer research,” said Gerold Bepler, M.D., Ph.D., president and chief executive officer of KCI and chair of Oncology for the WSU School of Medicine. “The endowment creates a permanent legacy for Dr. Cramer and a consistent source of cancer research funding at a very exciting time in the development of personalized medicine and targeted therapeutics.”

Dr. Cramer’s mentors, colleagues and patients described her as compassionate, empathetic, intelligent, energetic, determined, thoughtful and respectful, an enthusiastic learner, and extraordinary role model and teacher.

She received her bachelor’s degree from Michigan Technological University and her medical degree from the WSU School of Medicine. She completed her orthopaedic residency at Vanderbilt University and was recruited to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Wash., where she completed a year-long fellowship in orthopaedic trauma, followed by a fellowship in pediatric orthopaedics at Seattle Children's Hospital and Medical Center.

She returned to Detroit in 1993, serving as senior attending physician in orthopaedic trauma at Henry Ford Hospital. She joined the WSU School of Medicine faculty in 1998 as a clinical specialist in orthopaedic trauma, practicing at Detroit Receiving Hospital and Children’s Hospital of Michigan.
Former ebola patient and outbreak fighter Dr. Craig Spencer talks about latest epidemic, what's needed to solve crisis
In Headlines on February 18, 2015
Dr. Craig Spencer talks to a capacity crowd at the Wayne State University School of Medicine about his experiences with ebola.

Dr. Craig Spencer talks to a capacity crowd at the Wayne State University School of Medicine about his experiences with ebola.

The patient load assigned to Craig Spencer, M.D., M.P.H., while volunteering with Doctors Without Borders in the ebola-ravaged African country of Guinea would often reach 30 or more a day.

“No one would let me do that in the United States,” he said, of his hospital assignment in New York.

In contrast, when the 33-year-old became an ebola patient fighting the deadly virus in New York City a month later, a team of health care professionals equal to his African patient load was assigned to take care of him.

Speaking to a capacity crowd of more than 250 in Scott Hall’s Green Lecture Hall on Feb. 17, the 2008 Wayne State University School of Medicine graduate shared that disparity and many more of his concerns, lessons, observations and experiences as a provider-turned-patient at the center of the still-raging ebola epidemic in western Africa.

“What are the lessons learned? I have this fear that ebola will go away and we will have learned very little,” he said.

For six weeks in September and October 2014, Dr. Spencer volunteered at an ebola treatment center in Gueckedou, Guinea, one of the three main countries at the center of the health crisis. He completed his work Oct. 12, and arrived in New York on Oct. 17. He followed the Doctors Without Borders guidelines for all returning health care workers, which include returning to normal life but self-monitoring for symptoms like fatigue and fever, remaining within four hours of appropriate medical facilities, and having a treatment room ready and “bat” phone to call the appropriate authorities if needed.

He did not return to the emergency room at New York Presbyterian Hospital, where he works as an attending emergency medicine doctor, because the organization discourages health care workers from doing that for 21 days -- not to quarantine them but to give volunteers time to recover from the grueling conditions in West Africa, he said.

“In the days that I was back to New York City, sure I was afraid. I was afraid if I had a fever and got ebola, that would be really horrible, which it was,” he said.

He was rushed to Bellevue Hospital Center by ambulance Oct. 23, 2014, after he reported a fever, and tested positive for the virus. He was declared ebola-free Nov. 10 and released Nov. 11. He returned to work a few weeks later, and said Tuesday he feels completely healthy. He is using his new notoriety as one of only eight people in the United States to survive the virus to improve the understanding and treatment of epidemic diseases in developing nations. Tuesday’s talk for WSU students, faculty and staff was one of only a few public appearances made by the physician since his recovery. He hopes to return to Guinea’s ebola patients soon. There are still about 23,000 people infected in Africa, about 91 percent of all infections since the outbreak was discovered nearly a year ago, when Dr. Spencer first started thinking about going to help.

“Eventually I said, ‘This is getting so bad… . If I’m not going, who is?’ I just have a different set-point for what I think is acceptable and reprehensible,” he said. “It’s absolutely not for everybody. It is not only physically difficult but it is mentally exhausting and unbearable. (But) this is what my training and my service has taught me that I should be doing.”

Most if not all of the 9,000 deaths to date in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea are believed to be traceable to a single traditional healer who was not monitored, he told the crowd. He explained why the current outbreak differs from previous outbreaks, in a part of Africa where national borders aren’t recognized, allowing infections to quickly spread to three dense capital cities. While he was in Guinea, a road was blocked for more than a day due to political unrest, trapping 14 people with ebola who were on their way to a hospital without food or water. Five died before the vehicle was allowed through. The anecdote is one example of how years of civil war have weakened the health care system.

He raised questions about who is responsible for care now, the unintended side effects of the U.S. government being overly cautious about quarantine and isolation requirements for returning aid workers, and discussed how some academic medical centers have made it nearly impossible for nurses, doctors, students and faculty to help in Africa.

“What is our moral obligation to respond as students, doctors, Detroiters, Americans, global citizens?” he asked. “Regardless of what you think about issues in Africa, regardless of whether you think African problems are our problems, what we hopefully have learned from this epidemic is that a weak health system anywhere makes us vulnerable everywhere,” he said.

The circumstances leave a few dozen volunteer physicians and as few as 1,000 African physicians to care for thousands of patients with a highly contagious illness in a health care system already overwhelmed by high maternal and child mortality rates and deaths from preventable illnesses like measles, diarrhea and malnourishment.

“The virus is having a hard time going away,” he said. “It is going to be incredibly difficult to stamp this out.”

Some normality has returned and schools are reopening, including in Liberia this week. “But it’s not a reason to be complacent… . If we are not interested, and if we think that the crisis is over, then the compassion, the money and the volunteers leave. And there’s still a problem. Right now only 50 percent of cases that are found are from a known contact.”

He also talked about the controversies surrounding the epidemic, stating that politics were used to both criticize and guide the domestic and international response to the ebola outbreak, which led to directing resources away from where they’re most needed.

“What we need to do is treat it for what it really is, what the ebola epidemic really is. It is an infectious disease which requires addressing and resolving underlying problems like poverty, weak health systems, public health infrastructure and public misinformation. That’s the way we need to approach this,” he added.

Dr. Spencer is an associate professor of Clinical Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center. After graduating from the WSU School of Medicine, the Redford, Mich., native and Grosse Pointe North High School graduate completed his residency in emergency medicine at the New York Hospital of Queens in Flushing, N.Y. In addition to his work in Guinea, Dr. Spencer has provided medical care in the Caribbean, Central America and east African nations.

His interest in international emergency medicine and medical missions was sparked while at WSU, after traveling to the Dominican Republic with the School of Medicine’s World Health Student Organization. He also is a field epidemiologist with a master’s degree in public health, and has been involved in numerous projects measuring access to medical care and human rights in Africa and Southeast Asia.

Tuesday’s visit was presented by Wayne State University’s Center for Peace and Conflict Studies. The center’s director, Frederic Pearson, presented Dr. Spencer with its Global Peacemaker Award during the program.

School of Medicine Vice Dean of Research Bonita Stanton, M.D., who introduced Dr. Spencer, was among the faculty who interacted with him when he was a student, supporting his decision to take a year-long leave between his third and fourth year of medical school to live in China. He met his fiancé while there, and the two plan to marry this year in Detroit.

“Thank you for all that you have done and are doing from humankind across the globe,” Dr. Stanton said.

Reach Out to Youth opens doors to medical career exploration
In Headlines on February 17, 2015
Aubin Sandio assists young students in the Skeletal and Digestive Systems class.

Aubin Sandio assists young students in the Skeletal and Digestive Systems class.

Students separate white blood cells from red cells as they learn about the immune system.

Students separate white blood cells from red cells as they learn about the immune system.

"I love working with kids and I believe you need to interact with and contribute to your community," says medical student Cossandra Cramer.

"I love working with kids and I believe you need to interact with and contribute to your community," says medical student Cossandra Cramer.

Hundreds of children swarmed the classrooms of Scott Hall and the Mazurek Medical Education Commons at the Wayne State University School of Medicine last weekend to explore the wide world of science and learn about careers in medical fields.

Reach Out to Youth Day was developed to provide children living in urban areas the opportunity to realize that they can be physicians and medical researchers.

“This is important because it gives them someone to look up to, someone who looks like them,” said LaTorya Ellison, a second-year medical student and president of the WSU School of Medicine’s Black Medical Association student group, which presents the annual event. “They may not always get the right role models. They also get to see the diversity that a university offers. I know, growing up in Detroit, that I didn’t encounter that diversity until I got to college.”

This year’s event – the 26th annual – drew 250 children and their parents to educational sessions such as Skin and Vaccinations, and Skeletal and Digestive Systems. The theme for this year’s Reach Out to Youth was “On Guard and In Control: Wash Your Hands to Save Your Soul.”

Reach Out to Youth also provides medical students the opportunity to give back to the community by volunteering to staff classrooms and exhibits while teaching the attendees.

Cossandra Cramer, a second-year medical student who wants to practice pediatric oncology, taught young visitors the basics of clotting, white blood cells, platelets and scab formation using paper plates, red-colored water, flour and cotton balls.

“I really believe kids need more experience with medicine and science,” said Cramer, originally from Kalamazoo, Mich., as her charges practiced suturing on sponges. “I love working with kids and I believe you need to interact with and contribute to your community.”

Aubin Sandio, 25, a member of the School of Medicine’s Post Baccalaureate Program, pointed to the recent ebola outbreaks in west Africa, the lack of trained medical personnel and a burgeoning need for medical infrastructure as a reason to encourage more African-American children to pursue careers in medicine.

“We need more black people to get involved in medicine here, but also so that they can go to Africa to assist the people there,” said Sandio, whose family lives in Cameroon. He is the first person in his family to emigrate from Africa and the first in his family to attain a university degree – from Wayne State University. “White doctors do a good job, but we need more blacks in medicine so that they can help with conditions in Africa.”

Carolyn King, M.D., a co-founder of Reach Out to Youth, continues to serve as an adviser for the event. She grew up in Detroit, and saw the need for a program that introduced urban children to the possibility of medical careers.

“We want them to be immersed in the medical arts and sciences, and see that there are careers for them in those fields,” said Dr. King, a 1993 graduate of the School of Medicine. “When you live in an urban area, you need to be aware of the resources around you and what those resources can provide. They need to see people who look like them and know that they can do that too.”

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