Most of the students who tracked me down this summer were affiliated with one of the many summer research internships offered at the Harvard affiliate hospitals. And most were from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in medicine!! Every student I met has an amazing story to tell. Unfortunately, I was only able to interview two of them, both affiliated with the Summer Research Trainee Program (SRTP) at Mass General Hospital.
Roderick King, a senior at Delaware State University, was interviewed on July 7th and openly discussed the dysfunction in his family that threatened to derail his future. Drug use, domestic violence, imprisonment of family members – each of which could traumatize a child for life. Roderick saw it all, and still managed to overcome the limitations of his circumstance to become the first man in his family to graduate from high school!
Ann Oluloro was featured during the August 4th show. Unlike, Roderick, her story began in a country more than 5,000 miles from Boston. Her parents are from Nigeria; her father came to the US in the 1980’s on a student visa and soon brought her mother to live with him in Oregon. Ann and her sister were born in the US and are therefore US citizens. Yet, when her mother filed for divorce against her abusive husband, she learned that the appropriate immigration paperwork was not filed and she was being threatened with deportation. Her mother fought to remain in the US based on her desire to protect her girls from the ritual of genital mutilation (see NYTimes article).
After the divorce was finalized and asylum granted, Ann’s mother labored hard as a janitor to provide a life here for her daughters. Ann spoke of how important her mom’s example, work ethic, and support have been in making her the woman she is today. And she is indeed a remarkable woman!
Ann has been honored for her scholarship, her athletics, her humanism, and her leadership. She is a 2nd year student in the MD-MPH program at Oregon Health & Science University and interested in eliminating healthcare disparities. Although I had the privilege of being her research preceptor this summer, I know that our relationship will last a lifetime!
~One drop of knowledge can ripple through an entire community