NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The school at the center of Governor Ralph Northam’s racist photo scandal welcomed its most diverse class of medical students ever on Thursday.
Bri King, a first-year medical student, told WAVY.com, “It’s nice to see people who are like me, but also to see people who are different from me.”
Diversity is one thing that sold King on EVMS. “Obviously, I’m going to hopefully treat a lot of different patients from different socio-economic status, different cultures, things like that. I want to be able to relate and advocate for my patients.”
There are 151 medical students in this new class. The school reports 35 are under-represented minorities, up from 29 students last year.
African American students make up 13% of the total.
“There is still marginalization of people who want to go into careers in health care,” said Associate Dean of Admissions & Enrollment Dr. Tom Kimble.
Dr. Kimble told 10 On Your Side that the school is making a concerted effort to attract minorities, beginning with outreach in middle school.
Kimble says its important for two reasons. “Patients are more comfortable seeing people with similarities to themselves. Two, people from a certain demographic, certain background, are more likely to practice and serve communities of that demographic and background.”
The goal, he said, is for the medical school to mirror the community.
It will also create mentors for those like Bri King, who said growing up, she never met a surgeon that looked like her.
“I want to be able to be someone else’s mentor … for younger girls to be able to look up to me.”