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Why Give | Impact stories

UBC medical student Audrey is passionate about a more inclusive healthcare system

On Giving Day, you helped students like Audrey thrive by giving to the Entrance Award in Medicine for Black Students.

Audrey grew up with an aptitude for science and curiosity about a career in medicine. The decision to study physiology and pharmacology in her undergraduate degree was a natural fit, but she found it hard to see herself on the path to becoming a doctor, as she hadn’t seen many Black physicians.

In her second year of undergrad, Audrey joined a student club looking to increase representation of people of colour in the medical field. Around this time, she was also living with an autoimmune disease. The combination of spending time with students inspired to make a change and gaining the perspective of being a patient was the push she needed to apply to medical school.

Audrey was excited to discover UBC’s Black Student Pathway in Medicine, and even more thrilled to be accepted into the program. She started medical school in 2023 with eight more students admitted through this pathway and was among three classmates awarded the newly established Entrance Award in Medicine for Black Students.

“It was amazing to get into medical school and even more exciting to get some recognition through this award,” says Audrey. “It’s special to feel seen and to know UBC supports students like me.”

Last year, alumni, friends and the donor community came together on Giving Day with gifts to the Entrance Award in Medicine for Black Students, raising over $35,000 to support students like Audrey.

The award was established in 2022 by Dr. Felix Durity, who moved to Canada from Trinidad and Tobago in the 1950s and was the first neurosurgery resident at UBC. Inspired by the Faculty of Medicine’s Indigenous MD Admissions Pathway, Dr. Durity was determined to encourage recruitment and retention of Black physicians by removing some of the financial barriers they face.

“A university should represent the society it serves, and more work needs to be done in supporting Black students to pursue medicine,” says Dr. Durity. “This award is one way to let Black students know that UBC is a warm, inclusive place, that they belong here and are welcomed.”

For Audrey, her first year of medical school has presented some of the usual challenges, but she’s building confidence every day.  The program encourages conversations around how to better care for patients of colour, and she feels value in sharing her perspective as a Black medical student.

“Being a student of colour in a field that is predominately white is difficult, but feeling supported by UBC in ways such as the Entrance Award in Medicine for Black Students makes a big difference,” she says. “It really shows that UBC cares about making our healthcare system more inclusive and accessible.”

What’s your cause? Help move the world forward on UBC Giving Day.