Group promotes mentorship, networking for minority residents

While considering programs to complete her psychiatry residency, Ayana Jordan, MD, PhD sought information about the institutional and informal resources available to underrepresented minority trainees. Having chosen Yale, Jordan is now rallying her peers to strengthen the welcoming atmosphere and inclusiveness of the Yale-New Haven Hospital and Yale School of Medicine.

Dr. Jordan and Opeyemi Lamikanra, MD, a third-year resident in the Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, are re-launching and co-chairing the Minority Housestaff Organization to help recruit and retain minority residents.

The organization will organize around three committees, one for each of the organization's aims—mentorship, community outreach, and networking/social events.

"An organization like this would have been invaluable to me during my visit as an applicant. Our goal is to make it easier for current and future minority residents to find a community and locate the resources and support that are necessary for professional development," said Dr. Jordan.

The organization held a first meeting in November 2012 that was attended by 26 residents, from a majority of specialties.

In late March, the organization will send representatives to the 2013 Annual Medical Education Conference sponsored by the Student National Medical Association (SNMA). SNMA is an organization committed to supporting underrepresented minority medical students, addressing the needs of underserved communities, and increasing the number of clinically excellent, culturally competent and socially conscious physicians.

"I was heavily involved in SNMA as a medical student at Morehouse School of Medicine and know what minority organizations can do to foster a sense of community, increase diversity, and enhance the work environment for all," said Dr. Lamikanra. "Our events have been met with a positive response and a great amount of support. My hope is that the Minority Housestaff Organization continues to be a positive influence long after Ayana and I have graduated."

The organization is being created under the auspices of the Yale-New Haven Hospital Graduate Medical Education Office and is modeled after the Yale School of Medicine's Minority Organization for Retention & Expansion, a group of medical school faculty working to overcome obstacles to recruitment and retention of a diverse faculty.

The group is receiving support and guidance from Rosemarie Fisher, MD, professor of medicine and of pediatrics, director of graduate medical education for Yale-New Haven Hospital, and associate dean of graduate medical education at Yale School of Medicine, as well as Lisa Walke, MD, associate professor of medicine at Yale School of Medicine.

"I am pleased to wholeheartedly support the creation of a minority housestaff organization," said Dr. Walke. "In the School of Medicine both underrepresented minority students and faculty have active organizations; only the housestaff do not. "Thus, the creation of a minority housestaff organization will facilitate mentorship, career development opportunities, and socialization for all members of the minority medical community at Yale."

For more information about the Minority Housestaff Organization, please contact Dr. Ayana Jordan ( ) or Dr. Opeyemi Lamikanra ( ).

This article was submitted by Shane Seger on February 19, 2013.