Summit for Young Black Men Considering Health Careers Draws More Than 110 — Some from Columbia, S.C.


On Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018, an estimated 110 high school and college-aged black men and family members gathered at Meharry Medical College to hear advice and encouragement toward successfully pursuing a career as a physician, dentist, nurse or other health care professional.


Over 100 young black men sit at tables and listen to a speaker.

More than 110 young black men of high school and college age and family members interested in what it takes to become physicians, dentists, nurses and physician assistants attended “Navigating the Pre-Health Path: An Event for Black Men Interested in the Health Professions,” Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018 at Meharry Medical College.


The event, “Navigating the Pre-Health Path: An Event for Black Men Interested in the Health Professions,” was presented by Meharry, the Meharry Vanderbilt Alliance and Vanderbilt University Medical Center. The gender focus—specifically on black men—is part of a “pipeline” effort to stem the trend of declining numbers among black males studying to become physicians and dentists in America today.


Dr. Hildreth speaks with a microphone and Dr. Churchwell listens.

Meharry President and CEO James E.K. Hildreth, Ph.D., M.D., talks about his experiences as a black man pursuing a medical degree while Vanderbilt’s André L. Churchwell, M.D., looks on.


Presenters, including Meharry President and CEO James E.K. Hildreth Sr., Ph.D., M.D., and André Churchwell, M.D., chief diversity officer for Vanderbilt University Medical Center and senior associate dean for diversity affairs for Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, discussed the many challenges—socially, institutionally and financially—that black men have faced historically in their quest for a health care career. While those challenges may have lessened in more recent decades, they still exist, presenters said. Intense focus on well-rounded study with particular emphasis on science and math skills was urged, along with the important element of developing mentor relationships among those in the professions.


Dr. Churchwell, Sherard Stephens, Derek Doss and Dr. Hildreth smile and pose for a photo.

Vanderbilt sophomore Sherard Stephens from New York City, second from left, won an MCAT study preparation package from event sponsor Next Step Test Preparation. Left to right: Vanderbilt’s André Churchwell, Stephens, Derek Doss from Next Step, and Dr. James E.K. Hildreth, Meharry president and CEO.


While the seminar attracted many from Nashville-Davidson County and surrounding environs, attendees came from as far away as Memphis, Tennessee; Atlanta, Georgia and Columbia, South Carolina.