Crozer Health launched their new increasing diversity STEM program last week following their white coat ceremony. The program has a mission to expose more kids of color to careers in science, technology, engineering and math.
The program was started by Dr. Thomas Butler, a transplant surgeon at Crozer Medical center who said that growing there were several people trying to discourage him from pursuing his current profession. He created the program to encourage more children of color to enter the STEM field.
“People would tell me that I couldn’t be a doctor because the road was too long and that it was too much school […] I am just showing the kids that I am the same as them and they can be me,” Dr. Butler said.
47 students from Chester Boys & Girls Club and Chester STEM Academy from ages 8 to 18 were selected to participate.
Dr. Butler held a white coat ceremony for the students at the start of the program, giving them each a brand new coat which they must wear throughout the week-long program. Each student has their name embroidered on their coat.
“I remember my white coat ceremony, and now they will too,” Dr. Butler said.
Fifteen-year-old Tanyia Alexander, a participant in the program, has plans to become a cardiothoracic surgeon.
“I’ve always been fascinated by medicine and by hearts as well, I’ve always wanted to hold a heart in my hand and be able to fix it,” Alexander said.
Throughout the week students will partake in dissections of fetal pigs and frogs, as well as participating in healthcare stimulation labs. Students will also get the opportunity to hear from physicians, scientists, residents and medical students from Drexel University.
The newly formed program is funded by a grant from the Transplant Foundation, an affiliate of Gift of Life Donor Program.