Scholarship program designed to increase diversity in medicine

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Representation is critical especially in the medical community. With only 9% of physicians identifying as African American, Native American, Alaska Native or Latinx, ElevateMeD is on a mission to increase physician workforce diversity and improve cultural competence among physicians to reduce health disparities.

ElevateMeD was founded by Dr. Alyx Porter and her husband after their own experiences with medical school and its affordability. The ElevateMeD Scholars Program is a multifaceted program designed by ElevateMeD to develop the next generation of physicians from underrepresented groups.

“The thing that these students have in common is universally they are exceptional, and they identify as being underrepresented in medicine. Our goal with ElevateMeD is really to elevate medicine to an ideal where the physician workforce really looks like the population that we care for daily,” Dr. Porter said.

Once nominated and selected from the application process, each scholar is awarded a tuition-based scholarship to minimize the financial debt burden for each year remaining in their medical degree in addition to physician mentorship, access to peer network support, leadership development opportunities and financial management education. This year, the scholars from all over the country will receive $16,500. Since its creation in 2019, ElevateMeD has awarded $1 million in scholarships.

Abigail Solorio is from Central Phoenix and was an ElevateMeD scholar as well as a graduate of University of Arizona. Solorio will be a family medicine resident physician at Georgetown University in Washington D.C. She grew up in a community of immigrants and witnessed first-hand the disparities in the medical field.

“I was drawn to medicine not because I saw physicians that looked like me or spoke my native language. I think what really captured my interest was the detrimental impacts when there is inadequate access to health, whether it was in my own family or other loved ones,” Solorio said.

Beyond the financial assistance Solorio received, she was surrounded by physician leaders and mentors that the program provided her. She said the support empowered her to become the physician she wanted to be.

“For me, it was so impactful to be surrounded by such amazing leaders,” Solorio said.

Learn more about the lack of diversity in medicine from Dr. Alyx Porter, one of our guests in the digital-first series, “Black in Arizona,” by watching the episode here.

Dr. Alyx Porter Umphrey, Founder of ElevateMeD; Abigail Solorio, ElevateMeD Scholar and Medical Student

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