Inaugural RISE Awards Announced

November 21, 2023

On November 2, 2023, the REACH-HBMC Program awarded 7 mentors with the inaugural REACH-HBMC "Recognizing Individuals for Support and Empowerment (RISE)" Award. The award was given to individuals who were dedicated to mentoring medical students in the REACH-HBMC Summer 2023 Program and truly went above and beyond expectations to make a lasting impact on them.

The RISE Award winners are:

Dr. Alyce Adams (Cancer Institute)

Faculty mentor for Chioma Ekwunazu (Howard University College of Medicine '26)

Dr. Derek Smith (Anesthesiology Resident)

"At one of the [15-minute short lessons for the anesthesia residents], Derek reached out to me just asking me questions and offering an opportunity to get to learn more about what a day as an anesthesia resident is like. Before coming to Stanford, I had no idea what specialty I was interested in. [...] However, this changed after Derek introduced me to what Anesthesia has to offer. I am beyond grateful to Derek for giving me a silver lining in my summer experience." — Quote from a REACH-HBMC mentee

Dr. Glenn Chertow (Medicine)

Faculty mentor for Josiah Thule (Morehouse School of Medicine '26)

Dr. Jill Helms (Surgery)

Faculty mentor for Ertha Cedrine (Morehouse School of Medicine '26)

"Jill has been one of the greatest mentors I could have ever asked for. During the program, she challenged me to always think outside the box, be curious and never be afraid to stand by what I believe. She has been a great person to talk to and go to whenever things get hard. In that short amount of time, she has been amazing and has done so much for me with so much kindness. A mentor like Jill is rare this day and one of a kind and I will cherish our memories in the lab and with the STaRs interns and will be so grateful to continue our work together and for the rest of my journey in medicine."

Dr. Josselyn Peña (Surgery)

Ph.D. student co-mentor for Oliver Alexander (Meharry Medical College '26)

"Josselyn was instrumental in pinpointing my experimental design in the realm of transplant immunology. Josselyn was extremely patient in training me and allowed full autonomy as the experiment progressed. Josselyn supported my efforts both in the lab and in preparing a final presentation and poster. Josselyn deserves this award as she took the time out of her own dissertation experiments to assist with the planning, designing, and execution of my experiment during the 8-week period. Josselyn also supported my curiosity into the process of writing and editing a review paper."

Dr. Reena Thomas (Neurology and Neurological Sciences)

Faculty mentor for Devi Veerappan (Meharry Medical College '26)

"[Dr. Reena Thomas] provided me with opportunities that went above and beyond in order for me to gain a better understanding of the field of Neurology. [...] She constantly encouraged me to try new things and explore and be inquisitive. Coming from a background with no research, she really helped me by giving me constructive criticism and motivating me to excel and think out of the box. I appreciate my mentor for also showing me the other aspect of her role which entails the DEI leadership. She showed me her passion for the field and was able to dictate that into her clinical trial efforts as well. I had a wonderful summer learning from my mentor and appreciate all the efforts she put in to make sure I got the best experience, exposure, networks, and opportunities during my 8 weeks at Stanford."

Dr. Ryann Fame (Neurosurgery)

Faculty mentor for Briana Griffin (Meharry Medical College '26)

"Dr. Fame was so welcoming!! She was so patient with me, and I learned so much!! I truly felt like I was a part of the lab. I gained a lifelong mentor! I now have a strong foundation in the basic sciences!"

In the spirit of the season, the REACH-HBMC Program is eternally thankful for the village that helped launch, create, run, and manage the program and those who went above and beyond as mentors.

We look forward to celebrating the 2023 REACH-HBMC RISE Award winners at an in-person event in Summer 2024!