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George Ajene
Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

George Ajene

OMS-I

Future Goals: As a future goal, I would like to serve the community through a cardiovascular specialty. To me the heart's physiology, anatomy, and central role in our daily lives in unrivaled. Before medical school, I worked for three years in one of Houston's leading centers in Heart and Vascular Surgery and Intervention. Every day I came into work I was always inspired by the broad impact that the training of the surgeons and cardiologists allowed them to make on entire families and communities.

Minorities in medicine who have inspired you: Before medical school and even now, I have been taught and inspired by many hardworking and compassionate physicians, who, like me, are minorities. The first physician I shadowed, Dr. Kevin Smith, is a facial plastic surgeon who, with the American Sinus Institute, pioneered many successful surgical procedures which have improved the quality of life for thousands of patients and families. Also Dr. Thierry Momplaisir, a Haitian-American Interventional Cardiologist in the West Philadelphia area who has successfully organized a community outreach program, combining the resources of his affiliated hospital, the local church, and worldwide developers to bring an answer to the medical needs and health disparities of grossly underserved communities in Philadelphia.

Describe a hardship you’ve faced as a minority student pursuing medicine: The hardships I faced as a minority pursuing medicine are, unfortunately, the same obstacles that many minorities—especially those in inner-city areas—are challenged with as well. Growing up attending inner-city schools and coming from a single parent family there was often a lack of support, resources, and information to propel most students who looked like me to pursue educational vocations tenaciously. There were more friends to tell me 'NO! You cannot do it," there was more doubt, more self-depreciation, and more self-imposed limitations. These voices can be hard to shake, especially if they are your own. With the support of my loving family, and the drive to build a better life for myself and community, I developed the confidence to shoot for the moon, and I am on my journey to inspire others to do the same.

Advice for underrepresented minorities (URMs) who want to pursue medicine: My advice for minorities pursuing a career in medicine is to know that if you can perceive it, you can achieve it! You are wholly capable of anything you set your mind to. What matters is that you work relentlessly and always go the extra mile. Surround yourself with confident and ambitious friends, and spend every day working towards your goal, challenging yourself to grow and become the best version of yourself.

How do you feel empowered in your community: I feel empowered in the community when I can give back and inspire the generation of leaders coming after me. I am active in organizations in my medical school that allow me to be a mentor to minority boys and girls of local high schools, empowering them to overcome the adversity they face every day, encouraging their pursuits for further education, and providing resources to facilitate their success. I feel empowered when I can look in the face of a student who wants to attend college or become a medical doctor in the community, and tell them "Yes, you can do it!"