“The people who seek care on a given day represent every race, creed, gender, age, socioeconomic level, language, physical and mental ability and educational attainment. To receive the best care, they need health care providers who can understand them, communicate with them and establish positive relationships that engender trust.”
That was the opening message that DMU President and CEO Angela L. Walker Franklin, Ph.D., recently shared, via video, with donors to the University’s Glanton Fund. With total contributions of $285,027 over the past year, these individuals and organizations join the University in enhancing the cultural competency and humility of health care professionals, a key component of high-quality care.
The Glanton Fund provides scholarships for under-represented minority students who want to pursue health care careers. It also supports a variety of curricular initiatives and programs that foster the cultural competency and humility of all DMU students.
“DMU is deeply committed to helping students develop this ability, and the Glanton Fund is critical to our efforts,” President Franklin said. “As a Glanton Fund supporter, you stand with us in diversifying our health care workforce and tackling health disparities that endanger people’s health.”
Four DMU students shared their perspectives with donors in a video. Kaleb Harris, a first-year podiatric medicine student, described his goal of helping patients avoid the suffering and limb loss caused by diabetes.
“The Glanton Scholarship will support me on that journey. Receiving it means the world to me both for helping alleviate the high cost of medical school and for affording me the chance to achieve my goals,” he said.
Christelle Eliacin, a first-year osteopathic medicine student who grew up in Florida, said choosing to attend DMU was initially difficult for her because she hadn’t been to the Midwest and was concerned about “being one of a few students of color.” A conversation with President Franklin about the University’s emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion in the curriculum and campus programs changed her mind.
“I realized that DMU is one of the schools that’s actually trying to increase diversity,” says Christelle. “I chose DMU because of its widely respected programs, involvement in the community and commitment to preparing students to become important advocates for their patients’ health…Receiving the Glanton Scholarship is certainly an honor, knowing that the donors have faith that I can become a physician.”
Second-year physical therapy student Elsa Portillo said in the video that she has participated in some of DMU’s multicultural affairs programs, including a session on implicit bias.
“I appreciate that the University offers a wide variety of ways for us to not only learn about other cultures, but also to learn about ourselves and to become aware of our own prejudices and perceptions,” she said.
The four students expressed gratitude to this year’s Glanton Fund donors. Dallas Johnston, a first-year student in the physician assistant program, said he was grateful to be “part of a University that believes in diversity and equity.”
“I will work hard to become the health care provider I have always wanted to be,” he added. “I will work to ensure every dollar you have donated makes a difference in this world.”
President Franklin noted ways that DMU students have joined “the compassionate heroism of health care providers” in the fight against COVID-19 over the past nearly two years.
“These aspiring health care heroes eagerly serve and support our community. We are extremely grateful to you for supporting them through the Glanton Fund,” she said. “Through them, we will change health care for the better.”
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