On August 5, 2013, the Einstein community and local healthcare professionals gathered to celebrate the graduation ceremony for Einstein’s 2013 Summer Undergraduate Mentorship Program (SUMP). SUMP, which is part of the College of Medicine’s Hispanic Center, was established in 2002 with the goal of mentoring students from underrepresented or financially disadvantaged communities who aspired to become healthcare professionals.
The seven-week program offers college students an insider’s view of various health professions to encourage their interest in careers in science or medicine. Throughout the program, the students attend lectures and workshops, while gaining clinical or research experience at the side of a mentor representing one of numerous healthcare professions, including researcher, doctor, physician’s assistant or pharmacist.
To begin, Dr. Nora Esteban, program director of SUMP and co-director of the Hispanic Center, delivered opening remarks. She then introduced the 14 SUMP graduates, who presented their findings from research projects they had undertaken during the summer. Dr. Esteban was then joined by Dr. Alvin (Hal) Strelnick, director of the Hispanic Center, who spoke about the program’s commitment to both encouraging college students to pursue careers in medicine and to fostering compassion and better understanding of patient issues.
Next, Dr. Allen Spiegel, the Marilyn and Stanley Katz Dean, congratulated the graduates and praised the efforts of the SUMP leadership and introduced the event’s keynote speaker, Congressman Joseph Crowley.
Following his address, which focused on the need of the government to commit to creating jobs in science and medicine, Congressman Crowley entertained questions from the audience. The lively exchange, in which he responded to questions about the Affordable Care Act and other issues pertaining to healthcare and educational reforms, took on the feel of a "town hall meeting."
At the conclusion of the event, Dr. Nellie Correa, an Einstein alumnus and Einstein faculty member, was honored with the Helen Rodriguez-Trias Award, which recognizes the efforts of individuals who — like its namesake — champion women’s and children’s health needs.
The success of SUMP for its 2013 participants was summed up by of one of its graduates (and budding Olympian) Natalia Rodriguez, who noted, "Not only has the program instilled in me the confidence to build a career in medicine, but also opened my eyes towards goals that I could achieve outside academics. I am no longer skeptical about taking a year off for training for the Olympics, and I will always be thankful for that."
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