URMC Students Helping Disadvantaged Youth Become Doctors

Jan. 13, 2013
I AM MEDICINE Conference on January 26

Becoming a physician is not easy, particularly for young people who come from disadvantaged backgrounds. With that in mind, University of Rochester Medical Center students are organizing the 4th annual I AM MEDICINE conference on Saturday, January 26. The daylong event will help 200 area high school and college students overcome challenges and realize their dreams.

Participants will receive hands-on experience in simulated labs, interact with medical students, and take part in workshops on medical school admissions and financing. In addition, the young people will break into small groups to eat lunch with URMC physicians. The event’s keynote speaker is Dr. Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa from Johns Hopkins University. Quinones-Hinojosa is a former illegal immigrant from Mexico who, against all odds, became one of the world’s leading neurosurgeons and author of the autobiography, Becoming Dr. Q.

“Our hope is that students leave the conference feeling informed about their pathways to medicine,” says conference chair and third-year URMC student David A. Paul. “We want them to feel their dreams of a career in health care can actually happen.”

Past participants of the I AM MEDICINE conference have gone on to medical schools and graduate programs across the nation. Paul is hoping many of them will return, helping the region’s health care community better reflect the diversity and values of its patients.

“By inspiring physicians who are passionate about working with underserved populations, we can help shape the future of medicine in Upstate New York,” he says.

I AM MEDICINE is organized by the URMC chapter of the Student National Medical Association, an organization committed to supporting current and future underrepresented minority medical students, addressing the needs of underserved communities, and increasing the number of clinically excellent, culturally competent and socially conscious physicians. Minority and non-minority students interested in health careers are encouraged to attend the conference. For more information, go to