October 31, 2008
Making the case for Boston

Each spring on Match Day, thousands of medical students across the country receive their residency assignments and learn where they will begin their medical training. And yet, despite the presence of many leading academic medical centers in the Boston area, many Harvard Medical School (HMS) students from ethnic and racial groups historically underrepresented in medicine (URM) choose to train in other cities. On Sept. 18, the MGH Multicultural Affairs Office (MAO) joined other HMS-affiliated hospitals for a special panel discussion aimed at encouraging URM students to remain in Boston for their training. The event was co-hosted by the Consortium of HMS Affiliated Offices for Faculty Development and Diversity and the URM Mentorship Program, which matches URM students to faculty mentors and is run by the HMS Office for Recruitment and Multicultural Affairs.

The unique collaboration marked the first time the chief executive officers of HMS-affiliated hospitals have come together with HMS Dean Jeffrey Flier, MD, to promote a diversity-related agenda for students. The event opened with a welcome from Flier  and the CEOs including Peter L. Slavin, MD, president of the MGH. Among URM students, a general sentiment has been that Boston could be considered less welcoming to minority physicians as compared to other cities across the country. "That perception, combined with the city's high cost of living, has been one of the main deterrents for HMS URM students in selecting Boston hospitals for their residencies," says Celina Mankey, MD, director of the URM Mentorship Program and associate director of MAO.

During the discussion, panelists – including Jose Florez, MD, PhD, of MGH Endocrinology – helped dispel this myth by sharing their own positive experiences as URM physicians in the city. The evening concluded with the opportunity for students to visit resource tables and learn more about the residency programs at each of the participating hospitals.

For more information about MAO, visit www.massgeneral.org/mao or contact Elena Olson, JD, executive director of MAO, at ebolson@partners.org.

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