Five students of Hinds Community College have been selected for a program aimed at building the ranks of males of color in healthcare.
Eddie V. Anderson, Utica Campus; Antonio McBeth and Christian Minor, Jackson Campus-Nursing/Allied Health Center; Michael Pham, Raymond Campus and Zavier Smith, Utica Campus, will participate in the Health Equity and Leadership Initiative through the University of Mississippi Medical Center. The program provides those preparing for medical careers opportunities to develop skills from leaders in the healthcare workforce through in-person seminars and online sources.
“Males of color are underrepresented in our health profession schools and our goal is to offer an intimate experience for talented students such as those accepted to the Health Equity & Leadership Initiative,” said Dr. Juanyce D. Taylor, director of the program at UMMC. “The leadership development activities and shadowing experiences allow participants to learn the inner dynamics and clinical aspect of a large, complex academic health center. Essentially, we are building a stronger and more diverse health care workforce.”
Anderson, of Jackson, is a petty officer third class in the Navy and 2015 Hinds graduate who plans to attend nursing school. “I’m in the medical field to help people who aren’t knowledgeable about their health to do those things to improve their health,” he said.
Patient interaction is also important to McBeth, of Lena, in Leake County. “Interaction with the patient is an experience like no other,” said McBeth, who earned a degree in psychology from the University of Southern Mississippi before returning to Hinds to pursue eventually becoming a family nurse practitioner. “No two patients are the same, and I enjoy it.”
Applicants are recommended by faculty at their respective colleges, typically an instructor, adviser or community leader.
UMMC bases the program on research showing males of color are significantly underrepresented in most health professional programs. The program’s purpose is to support underrepresented males aged 17 to 25 enrolled in two-year colleges in Mississippi to become leaders in the healthcare workforce, while increasing access to health professional education, training, and career options. Funding for the program comes from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
Dr. Mitchell Shears, academic dean for the Utica Campus, where Anderson and Smith attend class, sees the program as a chance to sell the medical field as a viable career option for an emerging pool of students.
“It is our desire on the Utica Campus to assist more students, particularly males of color, in finding opportunities like this to make them more marketable to four-year institutions and the workforce after their collegiate experiences,” Shears said.
Prospective medical careers have been shaped among this year’s participants by personal experiences.
“When my mother was in a car accident in 2002, I saw what the nurses in the hospital were able to do for her,” said Minor, of Jackson, a sergeant in the Mississippi National Guard who plans to be a registered nurse. “They asked about our spiritual lives and how we could get help financially.”
Pham, of Byram, plans to attend Mississippi State University in biochemistry before going to medical school. He doesn’t take for granted the opportunity he has. “My family left in Vietnam are farmers, so I wouldn’t have had the same opportunity to go to school there, learn something and give back to the community,” he said. “I’d have to drop out and help get money for my family, as my cousins do.”
Smith envisions being an orthopedic surgeon because of his personal experience. “I played football at Raymond High School, and I had a torn pec one time and had to have surgery. Going through that, I learned things, like how muscles contract,” he said.
The program fits with UMMC’s past support of expanding the health profession in more sectors of the community.
“The University of Mississippi Medical Center has a history of supporting pipeline programs designed to increase its diversity and create pathways to health profession careers,” said Taylor, who is assistant dean for Research and Innovation and chairs the Department of Health Sciences, where she is also an assistant professor. She is also program director for the Master of Health Sciences at UMMC’s School of Health Related Professions.
As Mississippi’s largest community college, Hinds Community College is a comprehensive institution offering quality, affordable educational opportunities with more than 170 academic, career and technical programs. With six locations in central Mississippi, Hinds enrolled nearly 11,500 credit students in fall 2015. To learn more, visit www.hindscc.edu or call 1.800.HindsCC.