The 2010 Census shows that nearly 35% of the U.S. population is comprised of minorities or what I will refer to as URMs, since this subset of the population is projected to become the majority by 2042. Yet URMs only comprise 15% of the students in medical schools. Workforce diversity in medicine is essential to providing quality healthcare to our diverse communities.
Already these young students are feeling the isolation of being one of a handful of URMs in the field; sometimes they are the only URM in the class, lab, etc. And speaking from personal experience, the isolation can become more intense moving through training and particularly if one decides to remain in academia.
What can be done to support these students through their journey??
Mentoring is essential!!
"Mentoring is to support and encourage people to manage their own learning in order that they may maximise their potential, develop their skills, improve their performance and become the person they want to be." Eric Parsloe, The Oxford School of Coaching & Mentoring
This does not remove the responsibility of the mentee – the onus is on them to maintain the relationship and to follow through. In my journey, I found that a key to developing direction is to mentor others, to model what it is you need!! My hope is that the young folks I met this summer will remain in contact with the folks they have met this summer and find a good mentor who will help direct them. But just as important, I hope they make time to reach out and mentor their peers or other youth who need a word of encouragement.
Who will you take time to motivate, challenge, and inspire today??
~One drop of knowledge can ripple through an entire community