Ignite Magazine | Fall 2021

Page 16

FEATURE

GOOD TROUBLE IN ROOTSTOWN, OHIO BY RODERICK L. INGRAM SR.

U

nderrepresented minority (URM) students make up 30% of the 2021 class of future physicians at Northeast Ohio Medical University. That number, which equates to 48 first-year College of Medicine students, is far above the national average for medical schools. When the figure is mentioned, rooms often fill with an odd juxtaposition of silence and applause. The surround sound effect is then followed by questions — if you can call them that. This is so awesome. I’m sure you have some great stories about students coming from difficult situations. You must be offering a lot of scholarships, right? What’s the graduation rate? Did you lower your test scores? Some ask such questions because they truly think (they’ve “heard”) there aren’t enough qualified underrepresented minorities applying nationally to medical school. Others just want to know: How did NEOMED do it? Colleges are also businesses, and they often make data-informed decisions. Data from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) show that thousands of qualified URM students apply each year to medical schools, but most are not accepted. NEOMED analyzed the data and challenged what the University saw as a nationally flawed assumption: that not enough qualified underrepresented pre-medical students (Black and Latinx) were available to enroll in medical schools. Ultimately, the University discovered a sweet spot for matriculation: Pipeline programs. Interview processes and admission cycles. Key performance indicators (beyond just Medical College Admission Test, or MCAT, scores) that are more

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T R A N S F O R M AT I O N A L L E A D E R S

indicative of student success in coursework. But more on this later.

THE SOUL BENEATH THE SOIL In an essay that U.S. Congressman John Lewis wrote on his deathbed, “Together, You Can Redeem the Soul of Our Nation,” he talked about good trouble. Lewis said, ”Ordinary people with extraordinary vision can redeem the soul of America by getting in what I call good trouble,

necessary trouble.” He added, “When you see something that is not right, you must say something. You must do something.” Sounds a lot like Northeast Ohio Medical University, which emerged from farmlands in Rootstown, Ohio, in 1973. The University’s founders and supporters were bold enough to make positive change and they also knew that incremental change would not be enough. They recognized that to level the field, there needed to be

ALEJANDRO NOY:

Inheriting a Cuban grandfather’s legacy My grandfather has had to overcome many challenges. First, at the age of 18 he immigrated to the United States from Cuba. He had to learn English and immerse himself in a new culture. Not only did he excel in his studies, but he had the great opportunity to be accepted into medical school. As he worked extremely hard and became an established physician, he gained the respect of both his colleagues and his patients and became a valued member of the community. Through his example, I have been motivated to work as hard as possible to become a strong student, community volunteer and the best person I can be. As I have seen the progression of my grandfather’s Parkinson’s disease, I have witnessed his decline in speech, mobility and socialization. From this, I have learned that I must take a holistic approach to medicine and consider the entire patient, addressing physical as well as emotional needs. Watching the progression of his disorder and accompanying him to therapies and appointments, I have become especially interested in the study of neurological disorders. I have learned that disease affects not only one, but multiple aspects of life. As a physician I will look at the whole person, as well as the presenting aspects of disease.