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Conference for First-Generation and Low-Income Medical Professionals and Students Is First of Its Kind

May 29, 2020

On Tuesday, June 9, 2020, hundreds of pre-medical students, medical students, faculty, staff, and administrators across the country will unite virtually for the first-ever gathering of its kind: a celebration of individuals in the medical profession who identify as first-generation college graduates and/or low-income (FGLI).

FGLI medical students, though underrepresented, have an identity that is far less visible in medicine, a profession where more than 70% of current trainees are from the highest income households in the United States. The First-Generation and/or Low-Income in Medicine (FGLIMed) group is a new national medical student association that has been instrumental in organizing this groundbreaking virtual conference. Becoming Visible: Celebrating Community and Identity is a three-day event from June 9-11 that will include a community town hall, workshops on applying to medical school and residency, and a discussion on the FGLI pipeline and goals. Yale School of Medicine Chief Diversity Officer and Deputy Dean of Diversity and Inclusion Darin Latimore, MD, a featured speaker, will help kick off the virtual conference. Click here for a full schedule of events and registration details.

FGLIMed was co-founded in 2018 by Yale School of Medicine MD/PhD student, Mytien Nguyen and Hailey Roumimper, a Georgetown School of Medicine student. “We were speaking over the phone about the challenging and rewarding experiences of forming a new student group around being poor and having parents who didn’t go to college. We were both astounded by the impact of visibility, and thought that we should cultivate this idea and further cross-institutional conversations like the one we were engaged in. That’s when the idea of FGLIMed was conceived,” said Mytien, who also co-founded Yale School of Medicine’s FGLI student group (YFLI), an affinity group supported by the Office for Diversity, Inclusion, Equity and Community Engagement (DICE). “Since then, FGLIMed has grown from a dream into a reality made possible by a multi-institutional collaborative effort between FGLI student leaders from medical schools across the U.S., including Columbia, Vanderbilt, Albany Medical College and UCLA. We are trailblazing toward a more respectful inclusion of socioeconomic diversity in medicine and medical education.”

For FGLIMed members, I hope that you leave the pre-conference and conference with a wealth of knowledge, but more importantly, I hope the conferences help you realize that you are worthy of your dreams.

Darin A. Latimore, MD

The mission of FGLIMed is shaped by the personal experiences of members of the FGLI community and driven by a collective goal toward empowerment, community, and advocacy. “FGLIMed is a national association that belongs to all FGLI pre-medical and medical students and our allies,” according to a description of the closing session on June 11. The community is built around family and collaborative values with a growing number of school-based organizations across the country, such as Yale’s First-Generation and/or Low-Income (YFLI). “As YFLI looks forward to the next few years, we carry with us these same goals as we seek to continue to advocate for first-generation and/or low-income students at Yale School of Medicine and the broader Yale community. We are greatly looking forward to partnering with FGLIMed in our collective community, advocacy, and research efforts,” said Jamieson O’Marr, first year medical student and current president of YFLI. He serves alongside fellow first year medical students Fuyao (Joanna) Chen and Mursal Gardezi on the FGLIMed national executive board.

Becoming Visible: Celebrating Community and Identity is a virtual prelude to an in-person conference that has been postponed to Spring/Summer 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Yale School of Medicine is sponsoring both the pre-conference webinar series and the upcoming Spring/Summer 2021 FGLIMed Conference. Latimore stated, “I am thrilled to see the vision of the FGLIMed leadership come to fruition in the ‘Becoming Visible: Celebrating Community and Identity,’ pre-conference and the 2021 FGLIMed conference. It is my honor to be a part of this great effort. As someone from a low-income, first-generation background, I know that these types of conferences allow you to network and learn from others who have similar life stories. Such experiences can be transformative. For FGLIMed members, I hope that you leave the pre-conference and conference with a wealth of knowledge, but more importantly, I hope the conferences help you realize that you are worthy of your dreams.”

Submitted by Jill Max on May 29, 2020