Students celebrate enrichment program rewards

Cheered on by family, friends and GHSU faculty and staff, 74 students were honored July 22 at the Doubletree Hotel for completing the MCG Office of Diversity Affairs Pipeline Programs.

“The goal of our programs is to recruit students from underrepresented, non-traditional and economically disadvantaged backgrounds and give them the academic preparation they need to pursue a health sciences career,” said Dr. Kimberly Halbur, Associate Dean for Diversity Affairs at the Medical College of Georgia.

Keynote speaker Dr. Joseph Hobbs, Senior Associate Dean for Primary Care and Community Affairs, stressed the importance of institutional support in providing diverse populations with opportunities to pursue the health sciences.

Students enrolled in the Student Educational Enrichment Program for high schoolers and college students, and the Prematriculation program for incoming GHSU students, spend six or seven weeks on campus attending classes, social events and academic enrichment sessions designed to prepare them for the rigors of applying for and attending medical and dental school.

To identify students who would both benefit from and excel in the programs, the Office of Diversity Affairs—which defines diversity as encompassing gender, race, culture, sexual orientation and socioeconomic background—works to build relationships with career and guidance counselors in high schools and colleges throughout Georgia as well as attend recruitment fairs and establish partnerships.

“The goal is to have a physician workforce that represents the population in Georgia,” said Medical College of Georgia Dean Peter Buckley. “We have a number of health disparities in Georgia and across the nation. Programs like these are one way that we can increase the diversity and cultural competency of health care providers.”

The awards luncheon rewards students for their hard work, celebrates their achievements and enables them to thank participating staff and faculty with appreciation awards.

Dr. Cristian Stefan, Professor of Cellular Biology and Anatomy, was awarded Faculty Choice Award for teaching excellence from the Prematriculation students; Dr. Lester Pretlow, Associate Professor of Biomedical and Radiological Technology, was chosen by Pre-College students; Dr. Vadivel Ganapathy, Chairman of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, by the Intermediate College students and Dr. Pamela June, Assistant Professor of English at Paine College, by the Advanced
College students. Lydia Williams, a second-year MCG student, was also honored for her work. Linda James, Director of Diversity Outreach, and Wilma Sykes-Brown, Director of Diversity Support Services, facilitated the event and were honored for their leadership of the SEEP and Prematriculation programs, respectively.

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