Use Your Summer Wisely!

By: Dr. Lynne Holden, MD

In order to reach my goal of becoming a doctor, I attended five summer pathway programs starting the summer of 11th grade throughout college. I spent time in New Orleans, New York, Boston, Bethesda and Pittsburgh at no cost. I made lifelong friends who are now leaders throughout the country. I learned about subjects covered in medical school and on the medical college admissions test (MCAT). Most importantly, I gained valuable experience in research and clinical shadowing. In fact, I met one of my mentors, Dr. Deborah Prothrow- Stith the summer of 1983. I was assigned to shadow her in a Boston Clinic. Fast forward, she is a Professor of Medicine and the founding dean of Charles R. Drew School of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles, California! What an accomplishment!

Avoid the brain drain that occurs during the summer! I encourage each of you to explore summer programs to expand your network and to gain valuable medically-related experience such as research and shadowing. Oftentimes, the programs are available at low cost, free or may pay you a stipend. You may be provided with transportation, housing and meals.

The application deadlines are usually in mid-February so check the links from the Association of American Medical Colleges below today! For more information, please review the following carefully,

Dr. Deborah Prothrow-Stith

Professor, Internal Medicine

Founding Dean, Charles R. Drew School of Medicine and Science

Los Angeles, CA

Interview: A Rising Star in Medicine and Science

In a recent interview, we had the privilege to speak with Grafira Jean Baptiste, a dedicated student from our Mentoring in Medicine Summer of Science Service and Scholarship Program. Grafira’s journey is nothing short of inspiring, and her commitment to her academic and personal goals is truly remarkable.

Hello, my name is Graphira Jean-Baptiste. I am currently a post-baccalaureate student applying to get a masters in biochemistry to get a better understanding of the inner mechanisms of the human body. My ultimate goal is to use my knowledge in biochemistry to become a pediatrician, one whose focus is on health disparities in minority communities, especially Haitian communities


Daniel: Good afternoon, everyone. I’m Daniel, and today we’re shining a spotlight on one of our star students, Grafira Jean Baptiste. Grafira, could you start by telling us about your family background and upbringing?

Grafira: Of course, Daniel. I come from a humble background. My parents are immigrants from Haiti, and we initially lived in a two-bedroom apartment. My parents worked tirelessly to provide us with the best opportunities, even taking out loans and seeking help from friends to buy a house when I was nine.

Values: Hard Work and Education

Grafira: I learned the importance of hard work and education from my parents. They stressed that these values are key to success. Even when our family grew, my parents never wavered in their commitment to our education. This foundation has shaped my perspective on life.

Academic Interests

Daniel: Grafira, what are your academic interests, and why did you choose them?

Grafira: I’ve always loved science, and I developed a passion for chemistry and biochemistry. I’m particularly intrigued by how chemicals interact in our bodies and how diseases manifest. My interest in medicine was sparked during a program in Manhattan that focused on health disparities. I’m motivated to address these disparities, especially within the Haitian community.


Daniel: Aside from your academic pursuits, do you have any hobbies or interests?

Grafira: Absolutely. I’m an artist, and I love to paint and draw. Art is my sanctuary, a place of peace and inspiration.

Long-Term Goals

Daniel: What are your long-term goals, Grafira?

Grafira: My primary goal is to become a pediatrician. I’m passionate about working with children, and I want to make a difference in their lives. I also aim to address healthcare disparities, both within the Haitian community in the U.S. and in Haiti itself.

Highlights of the Summer of Science Program

Daniel: Can you share some highlights of your experience in the Summer of Science Program?

Grafira: One highlight was learning about anemia, which expanded my knowledge. I also gained valuable skills, like using Scratch for animation, creating a research poster, and mastering pivot tables.

Contributions to Personal and Academic Growth

Daniel: How has this program contributed to your personal and academic growth?

Grafira: I learned to take initiative, overcome fear, and become more organized. These skills have shaped my academic journey and will serve me well in the future.

Skills and Knowledge Gained

Daniel: What specific skills or knowledge areas do you believe will set you apart from other applicants?

Grafira: My graphic design skills, pivot table proficiency, and animation skills using Scratch are unique and will make me stand out. I’m also working on a research paper, which will further demonstrate my dedication.

Application of Program Experience

Daniel: How do you see the skills gained in this program contributing to your long-term goals?

Grafira: Graphic design will help me advertise my projects effectively. Pivot tables and data analysis will be invaluable in research and patient care. Animation skills will allow me to convey messages in a fun and engaging way.

Advice for Future Participants

Daniel: What advice would you give to students looking to join the Summer of Science Program?

Grafira: Keep an open mind, don’t be afraid to speak up, and take initiative. Embrace the learning process, and remember that every journey begins with a single step.

Parting Words

Daniel: Thank you so much, Grafira, for sharing your remarkable journey with us. Your determination and passion are truly inspiring.

Grafira: Thank you for the opportunity. I’m always ready to share my experiences and insights.

MIM Co-founder Featured on NBC

Dr. Yvette Calderon, MIM Board Director and co-founder, was featured on NBC for her leadership in fighting COVID 19 on September 14, 2020.  Dr. Calderon is the first Latina Professor of Emergency Medicine in the country.  She currently serves as the Chair of Emergency Medicine for Beth Israel, Mount Sinai Health System.

Profile of 91-Year Old Harlem Doctor

Dr. Melissa M. Freeman is a 91-year-old medical doctor who is on the front lines in the fight against the opioid epidemic. Freeman finished medical school in 1955 and has practiced medicine since 1961.


The Bronx native is also the granddaughter of a slave in Virginia. Her maternal grandfather, Albert B. Walker, was separated from his mother at the age of 7. When the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, he was told he could return to his mother.


You can view the WABC video segment at