Black History Month 2013 – Education mission

Feb. 06, 2013 College News - In honor of Black History Month, the Medical College of Wisconsin has created a series of video vignettes and stories that will be posted on InfoScope during the month of February. The vignettes highlight some of our African-American and black faculty and staff and the contributions they have made. The stories highlight MCW programs that improve the health of underserved populations (including African-American and black), offer these populations improved access to health care and education, and reduce health disparities.

The first story in the series highlights some historical facts and programs in our education mission. All of the vignettes and stories will be added to the College’s Black History Month 2013 Web page as they are published. 

First MCW black medical student

Nathaniel M. Robinson, MD, was the first black graduate of the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) medical school. He graduated from the Marquette University School of Medicine (which later became MCW) in 1954.

First MCWAH black resident

The first black physician to complete a residency through MCWAH (Medical College of Wisconsin Affiliated Hospitals, Inc.) was Betty Malone, MD. Dr. Malone began her residency in pediatrics in 1981 and completed it in 1984. Prior to 1980, all residents were hospital-based, so the College does not have records on them.  

Urban and Community Health Pathway

Created in 2010, the Urban and Community Health Pathway links training with community needs and assets to prepare students to care for patients in urban, underserved settings, promote community health and reduce health disparities. Using a service learning model, students partner with communities of color to address high-priority health needs. Examples of some of the partnerships in place (and the partners involved) include:

  • Health careers education at James Madison High School (AHEC Youth Health Service Corps)
  • Girls on the Run fitness education (Lindsay Heights Neighborhood Health Alliance)
  • Health programming at three homeless shelters (Guesthouse, Family Support Center and Walkers Point)
  • Asthma Smarts - self-care education to kids with asthma (Fight Asthma Milwaukee Allies and Milwaukee Public Schools)
  • Childhood Obesity Prevention Project (United Neighborhood Centers of Milwaukee)
  • Youth health programming (Neighborhood House, Journey House, Holton Youth Center)
  • Elder Health Education in public housing (SET Ministry)

Global Health Pathway

Also created in 2010, the Global Health Pathway prepares students to address the special health care needs of patients from developing countries and the challenges of working in areas of the world with limited resources. Many of the World Health Organization’s targeted Neglected Tropical Diseases preferentially affect minority populations around the world where health care needs are great but resources are limited. Structured MCW-linked international experiences in developing countries, including several African countries, are strongly encouraged. Locally, students in the Global Health Pathway have the opportunity to participate in “local global opportunities” by working with one of the five Wisconsin agencies that assist with African refugee and immigrant relocation, such as Lutheran Social Services, Catholic Charities and the Pan African Community Association.

Diversity education pipeline programs

MCW has several diversity education pipeline programs designed to encourage students from diverse backgrounds to consider careers in medicine and the biomedical sciences. Two of the summer programs are offered to undergraduate students interested in medicine or biomedical research, and three of the programs are geared toward local high school students. Seventy percent of high school participants in the pipeline programs go on to college/university and some continue to medical school or graduate studies in research fields.

The high school programs include the Apprenticeship in Medicine (AIM) program, the Research Opportunity for Academic Development in Science (ROADS) program, and the ACS Project SEED summer research program.

The Apprenticeship in Medicine Program (AIM) was launched in 1989 to provide academically talented students from diverse backgrounds with the opportunity to learn more about careers in medicine and allied health. Since 1996, 171 students have graduated from AIM with a substantial portion of these students continuing their education in college.

The program is designed to educate students about common medical problems in their communities, provide them with hands-on opportunities in medicine, and encourage them to attend college or university and pursue a career in medicine. Students spend most of their time in an instructional environment but also attend area clinics one full day per week to maximize learning opportunities and time with positive role models.

The Research Opportunity for Academic Development in Science (ROADS) program was launched in 1990 and is intended to motivate high school students from diverse backgrounds to consider careers as physicians and scientists. More than 100 students have participated in the ROADS program since it was first implemented, and a study of the program’s 86 enrollees from 1996 to 2011 found that 66% graduated from high school and 65% attended college.

As part of the ROADS program, each student completes a bench or community research project guided by his or her faculty preceptor. Students also are required to attend scheduled lecture sessions on types of research, research analysis, ethics, and the use of simulations in medicine. During the final week of the program, an informal research symposium is held to allow students to share the results of their work with faculty, members of their labs and their peers.

The ACS Project SEED summer research program offers economically disadvantaged students entering their junior or senior year in high school the chance to experience what it’s like to be a chemist. For 8 to 10 weeks, SEED students work with faculty researchers who help them develop laboratory, written and oral skills. In addition to hands-on research, Project SEED students receive guidance on their career and personal development.

The Diversity Summer Health-Related Research Education Program (DSHREP) allows undergraduate students to explore their interests in science and technology through a summer research training experience supervised by full-time Medical College faculty.

Qualified students who are accepted into the 10-week program are “matched” with a full-time faculty investigator to participate in a research project(s) addressing the causes, prevention, and treatment of cardiovascular, pulmonary and hematological diseases.  Each student researcher is required to provide an abstract of their research and present a brief presentation of their project at the conclusion of the summer experience. Our outcome tracking found that approximately 30% of undergraduate students have pursued medicine as a career, with a small number still in medical school.