PIX 11: Scholarship Program Aims to Diversify the Physician Workforce

There is a program underway aimed at providing scholarships to those who aspire to enter the medical industry. The initiative is geared toward helping students from backgrounds who are underrepresented in medicine.

Bradley Amazan always knew he wanted to pursue a career in medicine, but there was one thing holding him back.

“It’s an imposter syndrome. You kind of tend to think that you’re not adequate enough to do whatever it is you want to do,” he said.

He was encouraged by physicians to give it a shot. The 27-year-old first-generation American, born to Haitian immigrants, said he had nothing to lose. He took the Medical College Admissions Test, which led him to SUNY Downstate where he received an opportunity of a lifetime. Amazan was awarded the Associated Medical Schools of New York (AMSNY) diversity in medicine scholarship.

According to AMSNY, more than 30% of the state’s population is Black or Hispanic, with only 12% of physicians represent those demographics. Their goal is to diversify the physician workforce by creating a pipeline for those with the passion to pursue a career in medicine but can’t afford it.

AMSNY provides a $42,000 scholarship to 30 students like Amazan each year. Those accepted into the post-baccalaureate program receive $17,500 stipend, but there are caveats. If students are accepted to a medical school, they won’t be able to benefit from the program. Also, once accepted into the baccalaureate program, students are not allowed to work so they can concentrate on their studies.

Here’s how it works. In order to qualify, students are referred by the medical school they’ve applied to. If they successfully complete the one-year program, they automatically get admitted to that same medical school.

Once the student is enrolled into the post-baccalaureate program, those courses that are taken won’t necessarily carry over into medical school. However, it still gives them a leg up and they don’t have to reapply to medical school.

Since beginning its post-baccalaureate program in 1991, there are over 700 practicing physicians who have gone through the program. This year they’ve expanded to include SUNY Downstate making up the five diversity and medicine post-baccalaureate programs in New York State that are administered by AMSNY. In return, students agree to pay it forward.

Watch the interview: https://pix11.com/news/local-news/scholarship-program-aims-to-diversify-the-physician-workforce/