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Org to Support Pre-Med Minority Students

Malik McMullin is a second year USACOM student.

Malik McMullin is a second year USACOM student.

Briana Cunningham

Briana Cunningham

Malik McMullin is a second year USACOM student.

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Malik McMullin, a second-year medical student at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, recently founded Minority Association for Premedical Students (MAPS) with the goal of improving support for minority students in health related fields.

McMullin, who completed his undergraduate degree at USA, is the Vice President of the University of South Alabama’s Student National Medical Association, a parent organization for MAPS.

McMullin defines a minority student, specifically within the field of medicine, as any student underrepresented within the field.

“Statistically, that usually includes mainly African-Americans, Hispanics, American Indians and Alaskan Natives,” McMullin stated. “Our organization is open to any student who thinks they would benefit from what we offer.”

The organization hopes to bridge the gap where services for minority medical students may not exist.

“Compound that with the fact that many come from communities that lack resources and support to guide students to the level it takes to get into medical school,” McMullin stated.

McMullin feels that these factors combine to create doubt in minority pre-med students.

Less African-American males applied to medical school in 2014 than did in 1978, according to McMullin and a report published by the Association of American Medical Colleges.

MAPS’ goals are to improve minority student enrollment in medical programs, increase awareness of the issues minority communities face and “provide underrepresented pre-med students with knowledge, skills and experience that are both prerequisite and concomitant to professional participation in health care fields,” according to McMullin.

“USA has never had a MAPS organization and as an undergraduate student, I witnessed many of my friends that were minorities fall off track,” McMullin stated.

McMullin feels many of those students would have benefitted from an organization such as MAPS.

“There are also many stereotypes that my classmates of color experience because ‘they don’t look like a doctor,’” McMullin stated.

MAPS members make up roughly a third of Student National Medical Association memberships and their chapters exist in campuses all around the country, according to McMullin, MAPS plans to host an event called “A Day in the Life of a Med Student” this spring, according to McMullin.

The event, originally created by Mariah Sankey a third-year medical student, is intended to highlight the difficulties students in medical programs face.

“Students going into the medical field face many more obstacles and are less likely to have a mentor or someone to shadow in their profession, especially someone of color,” McMullin stated.

Minority students who join MAPS can benefit from getting immediate access to medical students like themselves to mentor and help them stay on track, according to McMullin.

McMullin fully supports the Diversity Recruitment and Enrichment for Admission into Medicine (DREAM) program.

The DREAM program gives minority students the opportunity to take part in an eight-week program over two summers with the ultimate goal of earning a seat as a first-year medical student.

“As a personal product of the DREAM program, it gave me a chance to become a doctor,” McMullin stated.

Meetings are slated to be held in the Medical Sciences Building’s first-floor auditorium on the second Monday of each month at 5:30 p.m.

Students interested in joining the organization can attend the meeting or add themselves to the email list by emailing [email protected].

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Org to Support Pre-Med Minority Students