Underrepresented in Medicine (URiM) program launches July 2022

The 2022-2023 academic year will see the pilot of University of Iowa’s Stead Family Department of Pediatrics elective opportunities for visiting medical students from diverse and Underrepresented in Medicine (URiM) backgrounds. In conjunction with the Graduate Medical Education’s (GME) Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Office’s pilot program of URiM rotations, the department’s medical education team created the elective in part to support the institution’s goal to increase diversity in the 11 departments piloting a URiM elective this year. In addition, this opportunity will encourage URiM students to explore this midwestern residency program in person, and get hands-on experience at University of Iowa Health Care during their four-week rotation.

Fourth-year medical students who identify as underrepresented in medicine were encouraged to apply for this pilot. UI Stead Family Department of Pediatrics’ medical education team intentionally didn’t specify what URiM means to the program, instead allowing any person who feels underrepresented to self-select into applying for the opportunity.

This ‘away elective’ offers unique insights into the residency program, as the selected student will be paired with either a resident or faculty mentor during their stay. The student will meet with the residency program director, at least two residency assistant program directors, and the residency administrators to help form a complete understanding of residency training at UI Stead Family Department of Pediatrics. In addition to other resident educational sessions, the student will be invited to participate in resident half-day education, one or more social engagements in the Iowa City area with Pediatrics residents, and be invited to participate in the department’s active DEI Committee’s meetings and activities. Finally, if the student chooses, they will be guaranteed a letter of recommendation from their chosen faculty member, and/or a “Chair’s letter” typically provided for Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine (CCOM) students applying to residency in Pediatrics.

Assistant Director of Medical Student Education, Lauren Kanner, MD, was integral in bringing this pilot program to fruition. “When I was in med school, I had to pay my own way for everything pertaining to my away elective, and then of course I paid for my ERAS applications directly after that,” she explains. “We are pleased to be able to offer this student a $2,500 stipend for the duration of the program, intended to cover all housing, travel, and food costs, so the student isn’t burdened by extra expenses while exploring what our residency program has to offer to them.”

One student from Illinois has been awarded this opportunity for the upcoming pilot cycle. UI Stead Family Department of Pediatrics hopes to extend the department’s program to two or three students in the 2023-2024 season.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022