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The AMP, an initiative led by Penn Medicine and CHOP, is working to expand its programs across the Delaware Valley region.

Credit: Zenna Haroon

The Alliance of Minority Physicians, an initiative led by Penn and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to strengthen diversity in the medical community, is expanding its program across the Delaware Valley region. 

AMP provides mentorship and programming that aim to uplift physicians from historically underrepresented populations in the field of medicine. Led by Iris Reyes — the initiative's founder and a professor of Clinical Emergency Medicine at Perelman School of Medicine — the program is working with diversity coordinators at six prominent medical institutions across Philadelphia to increase medical students' access to AMP's resources. 

The program was founded in 2012 as part of an initiative on behalf of former President Amy Gutmann to prioritize increasing diversity at Penn-affiliated institutions. Since its implementation, the AMP has seen triple the amount of minority doctors undertaking residency or internships at Penn and CHOP — an increase from 2011, when Black and Latinx-identifying physicians comprised less than 5% of Penn Med faculty. 

In 2023, the AMP received a grant from the Independence Blue Cross Foundation to recruit and retain physicians from minority populations. 

"With 1 out of every 6 U.S. doctors trained in Philadelphia, scaling [AMP] better addresses disparities in the physician workforce," Lorina Marshall-Blake, president of the Independence Blue Cross Foundation, told Philly Voice. 

One way the program is using the grant is with its newest initiative, Pathways to Excellence in Medicine, which offers students a variety of career-building opportunities. In December of last year, PEM held its first Philadelphia-wide mentor event, which included 19 new medical trainees from six medical schools. Reyes told Penn Medicine News that mentorship opportunities provided by PEM would help first-year medical students from underrepresented areas “set down roots” in the Philadelphia area.

The grant has also bolstered existing AMP programming, such as the Professional Development Committee’s series of seminars for underrepresented students across the Delaware Valley. The seminars focus not only on medical topics, but also on financial literacy and microaggressions — topics that have a greater influence on the professional lives of minority healthcare workers.

“Through this new AMP initiative, we are seeking to utilize evidence-based principles and the groundwork of a decade of experience to engage Philadelphia’s medical students in envisioning what their career can look like," Reyes said. "We are looking forward to supporting them as they blaze the path toward realizing their potential as future clinical and physician-scientists across all specialties."