AMSNY Diversity Lobby Day Student Testimonial: Citali Camacho

Citali Camacho is one of ten students who participated in this year’s AMSNY Diversity Lobby Day in Albany, NY on March 3rd. Citali is a high school student and aspiring physician who participated in Staten Island University’s Physician Career Enhancement Program this past summer under the tutelage of Dr. Marianne Smith. Citali believes that this program was the reason why she continued to stay strong and convince herself that following her heart and pursuing her dreams in the medical profession was the right thing to do. She says, “[This program] became my open door from a room of restrictions to a world of opportunities. There should be no barriers when it comes to what you want to be and who you want to become. I for one want to become more than just a pedestrian member of society.”

Before joining our program Citali said she was unsure of seeing herself in the medical profession as a minority student, but Dr. Smith showed her otherwise. Citali states, “In the medical field, we need more people who are part of the minority. Health care has been and forever should be about the patients. The people whose health has been compromised need the aid of insightful, competent, and caring professionals to help them overcome ills and bounce back into their unique lives. The program taught me that as long as your heart is in what you do, there should be no limitations to where your talents and hard work can take you.”

Citali tributes the Physician Career Enhancement Program for opening her eyes to the many ways she can utilize her talents. She believes these programs are imperative in giving other minority students the similar guidance she has been given saying, “There are people like me that don’t understand that minorities need to be able to connect with patients and to provide a sense of comfort and trust between the patient and health care professional. [To feel trust] with someone whom they are able to relate to and see as a brother or sister of the same sun, patients would be more open to seek help, value what information they’re given, and to use the advice given. The ability to live out your dream and learn to how you can make an impact is priceless. This program offered that [to me] and [exposed me] to what it [means to be a] medical professional.”

The goal of the Physician Career Enhancement Program is to provide ongoing guidance, support and referral for economically and educationally underserved high school students who are interested in pursuing an education and career in health sciences. It consists of enhanced Princeton Review courses, clinical shadowing with medical residents, and an introduction to research. Participants also undergo communication workshops, college preparation interviews, and courses to enhance writing skills. The students are tracked through their remaining high school years, college experience, medical school, residency and entrée into the medical profession.

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The Associated Medical Schools of New York (AMSNY) is a consortium of the 16 public and private medical schools throughout New York State. AMSNY’s mission is to promote high quality and cost-efficient health care by assuring that the medical schools of New York State can provide outstanding medical education, care and research.

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