Joseph Myrie grew up in the Bronx with parents who immigrated from Jamaica and Barbados. He was inspired to pursue medicine both by watching his mother, a nurse, and by his pediatrician, who told him how he could turn his love of science into a career. When Myrie got the opportunity to shadow physicians in a hospital during high school, he knew immediately it was a fit.
But in college, Myrie’s GPA was slightly below the range to be competitive for medical school, partly because he was balancing demands of competing as a D1 athlete. He was determined to pursue his goal and applied to medical schools, including Albert of Einstein College of Medicine. The admissions office recognized his potential, and offered him conditional acceptance if he successfully completed the Associated Medical Schools of New York’s Post Baccalaureate Program at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Buffalo.
AMSNY’s Post-Baccalaureate program provides opportunities for students from backgrounds that are underrepresented in medicine to become doctors. Thanks to the program, Dr. Myrie recently graduated from Einstein with his M.D. and started his residency in pediatrics at NYU Langone Health.
“Giving kids like me from underprivileged background a shot at a career in medicine is very important,“ said Dr. Myrie. “I think pipeline programs like the ones AMSNY runs are a huge part of the solution of increasing diversity in medicine.”
There are well know health disparities among black and latino populations, and Dr. Myrie says a lack of trust contributes to these issues. Research shows that when patients identify with their doctors’ racial or ethnic backgrounds, they have better health outcomes.
But Dr. Myrie says having more diversity in medical school not only benefits the public with more doctors from diverse backgrounds, but it also creates an enriched educational environment and better understanding for all physicians on the importance of culturally competent care.
“More diversity in the classroom helps other students who are not from underrepresented backgrounds be exposed to different perspectives” said Dr. Myrie. “I think that’s really crucial for future medical professionals.”
As a physician, Dr. Myrie hopes to return to the Bronx and promote healthy lifestyles while acting as a patient advocate in an underserved community.