Buffalo, N.Y. – Splinting a friend’s finger, waxing
teeth until they shine and suturing will be on the agenda on
Tuesday, April 29 when nearly 100 University at Buffalo medical and
dental students visit ninth and tenth graders at the Health
Sciences Charter School (HSCS).
What: The UB students, local dentists and physicians, are
participating in “Doctors Back to School,” a national
event sponsored by the American Medical Association to inspire
students from underrepresented groups to pursue careers in
Where and when: Health Sciences Charter School, 1140
Ellicott Street, Buffalo on April 29, from 1:30 to 2:30 when the UB
students will be introducing the high school students to various
medical and dental procedures.
For press arrangements, contact Ellen Goldbaum at
716-645-4605 and 716-771-9255 on-site.
Students will learn how to:
casts and splints, with their friends posing as patients
human hearts, lungs and brains on loan from the UB medical
school’s anatomy program
basic dental procedures, including tooth waxing and tooth
Who: Sixty-five UB medical students and more than 30
dental students will attend. In addition to teaching small groups
of students how to perform some procedures, students, physicians
and dentists will talk about why they chose medicine or dentistry
as a career.
There are 243 students in ninth and tenth grades at the HSCS.
Seventy per cent are African-American and the majority are female.
The entire student body will participate in the “Doctors Back
to School” program.
"We are so honored to have students from the University at
Buffalo at our school,” says HSCS principal Hank Stopinski,
EdD. “Many of our students walk out of the event
suggesting that one day they want to be just like the UB graduate
students and become a medical professional. We are so
grateful for the experience."
“The goal of this program is to show our students that you
don’t have to be a rich kid from the suburbs to go to medical
or dental school,” says Melina Vamvas, college and career
coordinator at HSCS.
The event was coordinated by Kiana Guerrero, a Bronx native and
first-year student in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical
Sciences and Arthur Bigsby III, a student in the UB School of
“This program helps pique young minority students’
interest in medicine and dentistry by introducing them to real-life
role models and by raising awareness about the need for more
minority physicians,” Guerrero says.
“I feel our job as current students and eventual health
professionals is to fuel the fire in these young kids,” says
Bigsby. “We were obviously all inspired to enter the medical
field at one point in our lives, and I cannot imagine a better
feeling than returning that favor and inspiring the next
According to the AMA, while African Americans, Hispanic
Americans and Native Americans comprise nearly one-quarter of the
U.S. population, they make up only nine percent of the doctors in
“I’m participating in ‘Doctors Back to
School’ because I have a vested interest,” says
Luther K. Robinson, MD, professor of pediatrics at UB.
“I want to see more local students pursue careers in the
health sciences – in all its varied enterprises. I believe
that ‘one sows and another waters. . .’ but no one can
predict which plant will flower. My role models were two dynamic
teachers who validated me in my formative years. My participation
in this event is an opportunity to potentially and positively
impact a young person’s life.”
Michael Hatton, DDS, clinical associate professor of oral
diagnostic sciences at UB said he and his wife, Elizabeth Hatton,
MD, a family physician in private practice, will participate
because of their own modest backgrounds.
Says Hatton: “We believe in enlightening young people
about our respective professions. If only one goes on to a doctoral
degree, they will be repeating the journey that my wife and I
undertook many decades ago. It was a hard road, with no family
financial support. We lived on a dream, and we made it happen. So
can one of these kids.”
In addition to Robinson and Hatton, Steven Abel, DDS, associate
dean for student affairs in the UB School of Dental medicine also
will participate, as will community dentists and physicians,
including Carlos Jimenez, MD, Theresa Rush, MD and Willie