Conference Prepares Minority Students for Professional Medical Programs

By Kalee Sexton

Kathryn Eaton, Ph.D., a first-year medical student at UAMS, and Kacee Daniels, a second-year medical student, served as co-chairs for the event, which aims to help underrepresented and minority college students from across Arkansas prepare for professional degree programs.


“As a Black woman who has navigated the road to medical school acceptance successfully, I recognize the immense need for programs like this to provide core guidance to underrepresented minority pre-med students, as early as possible in their academic tenure,” Eaton said.

Gloria Richard-Davis, M.D., the executive director of the Division for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, gave opening remarks, sharing her experiences and challenges in her career journey.

“There may be times when you want to turn back, or other people may be telling you to turn back. But if you’re committed, you will forge ahead and get past those barriers,” she said.

She shared how she knew she wanted to study medicine when she was 12 years old. At the time, MASH was a popular television show about U.S. Army personnel serving in the Korean War in a mobile surgical hospital. She noticed that all the physicians in the show were white men, but that never deterred her from following her dream. In fact, she went on to serve four years in the Army Medical Corps.

“It is important for us to host conferences like this and help to provide guidance as you embark on your journey,” she said.

Students then heard from UAMS representatives from the College of Medicine and College of Pharmacy, and a member of the Physician Assistant program in the College of Health Professions. They learned a little more about the application process and timeline for each path.

Later, Kevin Phelan, Ph.D., a professor in the College of Medicine, hosted an interactive gross anatomy digital dissection table demo, showcasing the technology available to students at UAMS.

Students also received interview tips, guidance on how to write a resume and personal statement and tips on how to prepare for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).

At the end of the event, participants were able to compete for $50 and $25 Amazon gift cards in a Kahoot pop quiz.

Eaton said she hopes students will use what they learned at the conference to become a successful medical student and, later, a successful health care provider.

“The more understanding of all aspects of the application process a student has, the better prepared students can become, without having to endure longer gap years, retaking courses or MCAT exams,” she said. “Ultimately, they can find success and become a phenomenal physician.”