Growing up in Spring Valley, NY, Kevin Frison often dreamed of becoming a physician. When he was in elementary school, his mother, a nurse at a nearby hospital, would bring home her nursing books and magazines, and pamphlets left behind by pharmaceutical reps. “”I read everything,”” recalled Mr. Frison, now a second-year student at Einstein.
One day, Mr. Frison, who is African-American, noticed an application in his guidance counselor’s office for the State Pre-College Enrichment Program, better known as S-PREP—one of many government-funded “”pipeline”” programs that encourage economically and educationally disadvantaged students who are underrepresented in the healthcare professions, to pursue health-related careers. He applied and was accepted.
Following college, Mr. Frison planned to work and study for the MCAT. But life had other plans. One morning, his father woke up in excruciating pain, and had difficulty getting out of bed, walking and standing. “”Everything went downhill from there,”” said Mr. Frison. For months, he drove his father to the hospital for MRIs and X-rays. The diagnosis: lumbar osteomyelitis. His dad could no longer work. Because Medicaid would only pay for a part-time aide, Mr. Frison became his father’s primary caregiver.
To help make ends meet, Mr. Frison worked as a substitute science teacher for two years at Ramapo High School, his alma mater. During that time, a local physician introduced him to Dr. Lynne Holden, associate professor of clinical emergency medicine at Einstein and founder/ director of Mentoring in Medicine (MiM), a program whose aim is to improve diversity in medicine. Through MiM’s 20-week Medical Pathways Program, Mr. Frison learned effective study and test-taking techniques and gained hands-on experience at Montefiore Medical Center, Einstein’s University Hospital, and Jacobi Medical Center. Dr. Holden, who he considers a key mentor, recalled, “”Kevin stood out. His sensitivity and compassion really struck me.””
After interviewing at Einstein, Mr. Frison was invited to attend Associated Medical Schools of New York’s Post Baccalaureate Program in Buffalo, NY. “”Before the post-bac, I thought I was ready for medical school,”” he said. “”After the post-bac, I knew I was ready.””
While he is currently undecided about what his specialty will be, Mr. Frison’s future looks bright. “”The pipeline process was a blessing in my life,”” he said. “”My mentors have given me the confidence I needed to succeed.”
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