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Bryan Station Benefits from UK Initiative on Diversity Healthcare

As Year 2 gets underway, both sides are celebrating the Diversity Healthcare Program as a thriving partnership between UK HealthCare and Bryan Station High School. “This last year has provided new ideas and connections. These students are the heart and future of healthcare,” said Dr. Randa Remer of UK’s College of Health Sciences as another group of freshmen joined.

More than 90 students applied this fall, with 25 freshmen selected. The University of Kentucky has committed to increasing the number of UK HealthCare scholars to 100 over four years.

Amaya YoungSophomore Amaya Young, a member of the first cohort, said the participants explore various medical careers and educational pathways. More importantly, the program aims to increase the diversity of healthcare professionals so that they can comfortably interact with all types of patients. “Not everybody feels seen when they go to the doctor, and you can be the person who helps and lets them know you’re there for them,” said Amaya, who wants to work in an emergency department or become a physician’s assistant. She shared how as a child, she was inspired by a nurse caring for her grandfather in the hospital. “It’s real important to have role models of color, and it helps people feel safe,” said Amaya, who is Black.

UK HealthCare’s chief diversity officer, Dr. Tukea Talbert, was the keynote speaker at the Nov. 3 induction ceremony. She encouraged the freshmen to always remember their value and contributions, and she assured them the hard work will be well worth it. “We’re here to help you along on your journey and help you tell your story,” Talbert said, adding, “Representation matters, and patients need healthcare professionals who look like them.”

The Diversity Healthcare Program provides support, mentors, and enrichment activities. The teens practice preparing a resume and interviewing for jobs, and they complete diversity training. They can also shadow UK graduate students, interact with healthcare teams, and immerse themselves in clinical settings. “We’re in groups depending on our pathways, and there’s a mentor who meets with us here (at school) about once a month,” Amaya said.  

Stacey Middleton of Bryan Station, who works closely with the UK organizers, offered positive reviews of the program. “Through their shared goals and collaborative learning experiences, a strong sense of community has developed among our first group of scholars,” she said. “Their growth over the last year both as a group and as individuals has been exciting to witness. The scholars are taking every opportunity to develop and redefine themselves as individuals as they take advantage of the many opportunities the University of Kentucky is providing to them.”

Resources: Diversity Healthcare Program -- A Guided Healthcare Mentorship Experience

Contact: Jami Dailey, principal of the Academy of Medical Sciences at Bryan Station High School, (859) 381-3308

Posted Nov. 4, 2022