A Network of Support for Socioeconomically Diverse Students

by Lindsay Chun, MS4

Recently, the Office of Health Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion supported a student-led initiative to establish a network of support for Pritzker medical students of socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds. Socioeconomic status is an invisible but pervasive aspect of identity, and this was an aspect of student body diversity that had not yet been formally recognized. First through fourth-year Pritzker students and faculty physicians came together to recognize how our individual hardships propelled our academic ambitions, but how our “success stories” also encapsulated various personal complexities that made for a nuanced experience.


Bottom row, L-R: Sonia Oyola, MD; Margaret Wang; Cori Walker; Mariam Alaka
Top row, L-R: Jim Leng; Victoria Okuneye; William Moser; Keith Ameyaw; Hector Castillo; Miguel Barajas; Lucy Xu; Lindsay Chun; Ijezie Ikwuezunma; Leslie Smebak; Rilwan Babajide; Raj Bhanvadia; Michael Marcangelo, MD



The evening was punctuated with moments of collective realizations that so many of us shared similar anxieties and concerns that we had been harboring in isolation for years, and this allowed us to reflect on the function of our past experiences in our trajectories through higher education and medical training. Despite our differences in gender, age, racial/ethnic identities, and hometowns, surprising connections were established among individuals who may otherwise not have had the chance to bond in this manner. We were able to share difficult stories with warmth, clarity, and humor, which helped make for an empowering experience for those who shared and those who chose to simply listen.

We believe this endeavor is able to exist due to the Pritzker School of Medicine’s true commitment to diversity and inclusivity, as practiced through critical thought, intellectual dialogue, and productive actions. We are happy to have the support of the Office of Health Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion to further enrich the culture of our institution and the educational experience of the students who are embarking on this privileged, challenging, and meaningful path in medicine.