Kenyani Davis, MD, MPH, speaking to prospective students.

Kenyani Davis, MD, MPH, speaks to prospective medical students during the Jacobs School’s Second Look Weekend event.

Second Look Weekend Peels Back Layers of Life at UB

By Dirk Hoffman

Published May 11, 2023

Second Look Weekend provides accepted students from groups historically underrepresented in medicine with the opportunity to learn more details about what the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and the University at Buffalo have to offer.

“We cannot be a first-rate medical school unless we recognize the value that diversity and inclusion bring to us as individuals and to our community. ”
UB’s vice president for health sciences and dean of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences

About two dozen students, some accompanied by their parents, gathered in Buffalo April 28-30 for the event. It included a welcome mixer, several meals, a campus tour and scavenger hunt, an anatomy lab demonstration, suture clinic and a walking tour of downtown Buffalo.

Also included were welcome remarks and introductions from Jacobs School leadership and faculty, the Office of Medical Admissions, the Office of Inclusion and Cultural Enhancement and student executive board members from the UB chapters of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA) and Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA).

Making Prospectives Feel Comfortable With the Fit

Dori R. Marshall, MD, associate dean and director of admissions, gave a brief overview of the origins of Second Look Weekend.

“It started in 2018 when Dr. Karole Collier, who at the time was a first-year medical student, marched into my office and said, ‘there aren’t enough people who look like me in the class.’ She proposed a weekend where we invite people who are underrepresented in medicine to our school to show them what the school has to offer,” Marshall said.

“We wanted to introduce them to Buffalo and have interactions in a way that makes them feel comfortable and feel wanted,” she said. “We have been doing it ever since and I think it really contributes to the culture of our school.”

The SNMA and LMSA e-boards, led by 2023-2024 chapter presidents Moriah Martindale and Janiece Rosado, respectively, introduced themselves and talked a bit about their interests and what specialties they are considering to give the prospective students a sense of what daily life is like for medical students at UB.

The visiting students said they appreciated the insights.

Antoinette Davis, from Brooklyn, New York, said “UB seems like a tightknit community where people seem like they look out for each other.”

“I really want to be in an environment that is supportive, and it feels like there are a lot of resources available to help you fit in,” she added.

Stephanie Christie, also from Brooklyn, said that one of the main things that attracted her to UB “was that the school was very welcoming, and everyone seemed very genuine.”

“I like the fact they have a lot of different student interest groups,” she said.

Allison Brashear, MD, MBA, speaks to prospective medical students in the Levy Conference room.

Allison Brashear, MD, MBA, highlights some of the unique features of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and the University at Buffalo during Second Look Weekend.

UB’s Structure Offers Unique Opportunities

Allison Brashear, MD, MBA, UB’s vice president for health sciences and dean of the Jacobs School, welcomed the students and touted some of the unique features of UB.

“I am originally from Indiana, but I am very proud to call Buffalo home and I hope everyone here will call Buffalo home in the future.”

Brashear noted that UB has five schools of health.

“Our students have more chances to collaborate interprofessionally and share ideas because of UB's unique alignment with its five schools of health sciences, which I oversee as vice president,” she said.

Brashear said UB has a commitment to diversifying its faculty, not only in teaching staff, but also in research.

She cited a new national analysis recently published in JAMA Network Open which concluded that greater Black primary care physician representation in the workforce is key to ending deeply entrenched racial health disparities.

“This is the first to link a higher prevalence of Black doctors to longer life expectancy and lower mortality in Black populations,” Brashear said.

“We are here to be a model of what health care looks like,” she said. “We promote diversity by accepting students, like those of you here today, who appreciate and learn from each other’s differences while collaborating toward a common goal — namely, delivering exemplary care to all in a culturally sensitive manner.”

Brashear cited the implementation of the Jacobs School’s new medical and cultural humility curriculum, MUSE, with anti-racism at its core.

“We cannot be a first-rate medical school unless we recognize the value that diversity and inclusion bring to us as individuals and to our community,” she said.

Support is About Action, Not Words

Kenyani Davis, MD, MPH, lead physician for resident and fellow employee health in the Office of Graduate Medical Education, was the keynote speaker at the event. She is an internal medicine specialist who is chief medical officer of the Community Health Center of Buffalo, Inc.

She completed her residency training in UB’s internal medicine-preventive medicine program.

“I have no PowerPoint, because I don’t think you need another lecture. The truth is I think you need a raw, honest conversation,” Davis began.

She noted that Buffalo’s population is 39 percent African American, but that 98 percent live within five zip codes.

“Health inequities are built off of structural racism and systematic divide,” she said. “Buffalo is a very unique place, and it is the reason I came here, and I stay here.”

Davis noted she had 22 residency interviews and knew nothing about Buffalo before she visited — but once she did, she said it “felt like home because comfortability and intersectionality matters.”

“The support here is real. Support is not about words; it is about action. There is support at every level,” she said. “More importantly, you have an entire community out here that wants to see you thrive. You are young, you are gifted, and your presence is needed.”

Providing Space for Personal Growth

Davis said it wasn’t until she came to Buffalo that she was able to spread her wings — because UB offered her three things — grace, mercy and space.

“What you sign up to be is a continuous learner and not just a continuous learner of books and people, but of yourself as well.”

“It is an everyday journey. I didn’t know what becoming a doctor was supposed to look like, but then I realized I can’t be anybody else but me,” Davis said. “And when I became myself, I became comfortable and I was able to shine and I was able to thrive.”

“As you go through, you will figure out who you are and what you are, but you always want to be authentically who you are,” she added.

“One of the great things here at UB is we give people the opportunity and space to do that.”