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Diversity Scholars
One group of medical students will be especially grateful at this year’s commencement.

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Sergio Glait, right, with second-year medical student, James Carson, in Peru last year.
Sergio Glait, right, with second-year medical student, James Carson, in Peru last year.

Of the 126 medical students graduating from Johns Hopkins this month, four have a special place in the Class of 2009. They are the first Board of Advisors Scholars to become newly minted physicians.

In 2006, Hopkins’ board of advisors, a small group that counsels the dean, was told that the School of Medicine was lagging far behind its peers in attracting medical students from diverse backgrounds. “We were approaching a fourth quartile position among our peer groups,” says C. Michael Armstrong, who chaired the board of advisors at the time and currently chairs the boards of trustees for Johns Hopkins Medicine, the health system and Hopkins Hospital. “And we were losing some of the best and brightest students, irrespective of their background, because we didn’t have competitive scholarships for them.”

The board spontaneously sprang into action and money was pledged on the spot to fund 10 full scholarships (two more were funded the following year). “Within a year or two, when you added it all up, we went from the fourth to the first quartile,” says Armstrong. “It really made a difference.” 

Sergio Glait, who was born in Bogota, Colombia to humble circumstances, was  one of the first recipients. “I didn’t want to burden my parents because they’ve already done so much to provide for me,” says Glait. “I definitely wanted to be responsible and do all my education on my own. I had gotten into some other schools, but I wasn’t willing to come out with a lot of debt.”

By many measures, Glait not only succeeded academically at Hopkins but was a leader as well. He volunteered as a tutor, co-authored a chapter of a textbook and went on a mission trip to Peru in October where he helped perform 49 total joint replacements. He was matched for his internship to his top choice [?] New York University Hospital for Joint Diseases for Orthopedic Surgery.

Because Hopkins wanted to widen the pool of sponsors, the scholars program will become the Johns Hopkins Medicine Scholars in its next iteration. “The program represents the institution’s commitment to diversity,” says Daniel Teraguchi, assistant dean of student affairs and director of the Office of Student Diversity. “It helps us retain a robust, diverse student body.”

–Mary Ellen Miller

 

 

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