COM DEI teams with MMI for pathway events

June 02, 2022

Image with caption: From left, Shrawan Kumar, PhD, Maurice Godfrey, PhD, and Liliana Bronner, director of medical pathways in the UNMC College of Medicine DEI Office

From left, Shrawan Kumar, PhD, Maurice Godfrey, PhD, and Liliana Bronner, director of medical pathways in the UNMC College of Medicine DEI Office

This summer, the College of Medicine Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion will be teaming with the Munroe-Meyer Institute to provide several activities directed at underrepresented minority youth who may be interested in health or science careers.

"Many underrepresented minority and first-generation students have limited access to resources and opportunities; they just don’t know what they don’t know," said Liliana Bronner, director of medical pathways in the UNMC College of Medicine DEI Office. "How can children aspire to careers that they don’t know exist? Many kids don’t begin learning about careers until high school or later. Our goal with these summer programs is to help students curious about science and health begin the self-exploration process to illuminate potential career opportunities." 

The programs are being coordinated by Bronner, working with Maurice Godfrey, PhD, and Shrawan Kumar, PhD, of MMI, to create a space where the students can be exposed to a variety of careers, research and training at an academic medical center. 

In early June, a four-day Health and Science Fun camp is planned for middle school students from American Indian communities. Part of the Science Education Partnership Award opportunities, the camp will explore technology in health care, including a visit to the MMI virtual reality lab.

A limited number of shadowing opportunities also will be available at MMI for underrepresented minority students later in June, as an effort to increase the diversity of people in professions that work with people with developmental disabilities and movement dysfunctions. In the Find Your Future Career Exploration program, students will get an opportunity to shadow professionals in recreation therapy, speech language therapy, occupational therapy, physical, therapy, psychiatry, among several others. 

Finally, the Indigenous Summer Program for Advancing Research Knowledge (I-SPARK), will be held in June, another collaboration between MMI and COM DEI.

"We’ve invited high school students who are interested in health care," Bronner said. "We will focus on the different clinical and research careers we train for here at the med center. With support from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the program will explore neurology and the study of neurological disorders as a career path.

One day each week of the program will be devoted to "soft skills," Bronner said -- resume writing, the college application process, financial wellness and studying strategies.

"Many of these students are first-generation, low-income students, so their families may not know the pathways to higher education or health careers," Bronner said. "To provide that information, while also allowing them to meet people in these careers, may help them develop new ambitions and put them on a pathway to help realize them as well."

The programs were made possible by funding from the National Institutes of Health-National Institute of General Medical Science  and National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Dr. Godfrey said. 

"We’ve also received support from Nebraska's Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research to make these opportunities possible," he said. "Through these funding commitments we can provide STEM-related outreach for students who might not otherwise have such opportunities."

Abhishek Gupta
June 06, 2022 at 5:34 AM

Wow great initiative to offer underrepresented communities with a broader horizon of career opportunities

Asit Kumar Saha
June 02, 2022 at 9:58 AM


Ambika prasad gupta
June 01, 2022 at 7:21 PM

Innovative and good social cause

Lisa Spellman
June 01, 2022 at 2:20 PM

Great work team!