Ena Cade, a Howard University sophomore from Philadelphia, never thought she would be spending her summer coping with AIDS. Yet as one of the ten students chosen for the Summer Research Program for Minority Undergraduates, Cade studied the HIV virus for five weeks, under the guidance of Microbiology Professor Helen Davies. In an effort to strengthen ties with traditionally black colleges, the University opened the medical seminar to students from Spelman, Morehouse, Howard and Xavier universities. The program was developed this year by the provost and the School of Medicine to increase the number of doctoral degree applicants from minority groups. The program is designed to boost the presence of these minority groups at the University and at other research institutions across the country, according to Program Associate Anthony Bullett. "This program should get more students interested in the academic side of medicine, as opposed to general practice," said Kwaku Ohene-Frempong, an associate professor of pediatrics. The students, nine sophomores and a senior, were each paired with faculty mentors to conduct research and gain work experience in health policy, information systems, clinical or laboratory medicine. Christine Crawford, a sophopmore from Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, studied sickle-cell diseases under the guidance of Ohene-Frempong, who is also Director of the Sickle Cell Program at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "This summer has given me a good view of and great exposure to clinical research, and now I'm at least considering Penn for medical school," said Crawford. "I'd never even thought of it before." Ohene-Frempong said Crawford received valuable experience for a career in medicine. "Christine reviewed the medical records of our patients who had a history of frequent pain attacks and began to tabulate the sights of these pain attacks from early childhood until now," he said. Other students who were already familiar with the University's offerings chose the program hoping to later attend graduate school here, according to John Smith, a senior at Morehouse College, also in Atlanta, who was originally from South Philadelphia. A humanities seminar on black feminism, taught by College graduate Duchess Harris, was another part of this year's program. "We learned about the female heroes of the civil rights movement that had been neglected in history," said Crawford, who praised Harris' course. Harris chose the subject as this years' focus for study because she feels it is a neglected part of American history. "When you're dealing with many African-American courses you learn mostly about black men, whereas Women's Studies courses center mostly on white women. There is a desperate need for black feminist studies," said Harris. "It's an important part of the curriculum that is essentially absent on most college campuses." The program began this year and suffered from some lack of exposure, according to some of this year's students, but Bullett said he hopes for expanding the program into other University schools. "In the future we would ultimately like to have a University-wide summer research program for minority students," said Bullett. "Perhaps with business, engineering and liberal arts research."Comments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.