East Carolina University’s Brody School of Medicine group that supports minority medical students and underserved communities has received a regional award.
The Brody Student National Medical Association chapter was recognized for the extensive community service its members performed this past year, outshining peer groups from North Carolina to Florida and the Caribbean.
“What I love about the Student National Medical Association is that the mission really aligns with the mission of the Brody School of Medicine,” explained chapter president Ebone Evans, a rising third-year medical student from Durham. “SNMA encourages physicians to go to these populations that are traditionally underserved and encourages support and mentorship for medical students who might not have had support in their lives around them.”
Many of the group’s community initiatives this past academic year involved members serving as role models for area youth.
For Project ALPHA, members provided weekly health education training to young men at Dobbs Community Juvenile Detention Center in Kinston. Weekly workshops at Building Hope Community Life Center in Greenville helped young ladies transition to womanhood. Programming included a seminar on making healthy snacks and another from ECU dental medicine students on proper dental hygiene.
Other community service efforts included a reading buddies program at the Little Willie Center in Greenville and a pre-medical conference to encourage undergraduate minority students interested in pursuing medicine. Members also took an active role in Hurricane Matthew relief efforts in the fall.
“Just as much as the people in these programs get from us, we get so much from them,” Evans said. “We get so much understanding of life — a better understanding of the community — and that’s how you really are able to affect the population that you’re serving, if you understand who they are.”
Any medical student can join the chapter, Evans said, but minority students typically comprise membership. The group’s leaders are working to continue increasing community service and encourage diversity among members.
“We want people to know this isn’t an organization just for minority students,” she said. “It’s an organization that would like to train the majority population to know how to support minority populations as they go through their medical training.”
Dr. Cassandra Bradby, the group’s adviser and clinical assistant professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine, applauded Brody’s SNMA members for their efforts to help promote and exemplify diversity in medicine.
“Given all of the rigors of medical school, it is very hard to be able to balance all of these service projects and programs, as well as excel in school and our students have managed to do both,” she said. “I am so proud and excited that they have earned this award. No chapter deserves it more.”
by Elizabeth Willy, University Communication