Area HS students graduate from MINDS Program at SHU med school

NUTLEY, NJ — The Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University celebrated the graduation of 15 outstanding high school students who participated in the Medical Internship Navigating Diversity & Science Program.

“Our mission is to create a physician workforce that is capable of delivering excellent clinical care and optimal health to all individuals — irrespective of their socioeconomic status — and one that reflects the communities we are so privileged to serve,” said Dr. Bonita Stanton, founding dean of the medical school.

Fifteen students were selected from a competitive applicant pool of nearly 300 New Jersey high school students who are from underrepresented backgrounds. The students engaged in hands-on learning, which included: how to suture with surgeons, motivational interviewing with clinical psychologists, and working in the emergency room at Hackensack University Medical Center to interview patients affected by homelessness, domestic violence and substance abuse.

The 15 participating students were Mikayla Montano of Columbia High School in Maplewood; Aaron Wenger of West Orange High School; Kwamivi Amedeya of East Orange STEM Academy; Elijah Austin of St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Edison; Anahi Flores and Paola Tenezaca, both of Hackensack High School; Ashley Hyppolite of Benedictine Academy in Elizabeth; Ines Kenfack Donfack and Jordan Thibault, both of Newark Tech High School; Teju Keshiro of Union High School; Victoria Morgan of Union County Academy for Allied Health Sciences; Chukwudumebi Nwankwo of Old Bridge High School; Luciana Salomone of Belleville High School; and Izabre Springer of People’s Preparatory Charter School in Newark.

“This internship provides gifted students with an opportunity to experience hands-on learning from dedicated physicians and allied health professionals from underrepresented communities and helps us achieve a goal of working to ensure future physicians mirror the communities where they practice,” said Dr. David S. Kountz, associate dean of diversity and equity at the school.