URiM Pathway to Pediatrics Program Clarifies Journey for Pre-Med Students

June 15, 2022 by Michelle Bookless

Kiana Heredia, a medical student in the University of Vermont’s Larner College of Medicine Class of 2024, recently helped Larner Assistant Professor of Pediatrics L.E. Faricy, M.D., create the URiM Pathway to Pediatrics (UPP) program to assist others who may encounter the doubts she experienced during her undergraduate years. The UPP program originated from a grant proposal Faricy and Heredia developed with help from Nicole Obongo ’24, Annaliese Lapides ‘24 and Mialovena Exume ’24, for American Academy of Pediatrics funding to support events aimed at increasing workforce diversity and supporting students historically underrepresented in medicine (URiM). It was Heredia’s idea to target pre-medical students in the first years of their undergraduate experience based on the disillusionment she felt at that stage of her education.

UPP program participants, faculty, and mentors pose for a group photo.

With the goal of one day becoming a physician, Kiana Heredia started her undergraduate degree at Mount Holyoke College as a pre-medical student. Faced with a course load of classes such as organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, and physics, Heredia says she began to second-guess the gut feeling that she belonged in the medical field.

Now Heredia is a medical student in the University of Vermont’s Larner College of Medicine Class of 2024 and recently helped Larner Assistant Professor of Pediatrics L.E. Faricy, M.D., create the URiM Pathway to Pediatrics (UPP) program to assist others who may encounter the doubts she experienced during her undergraduate years...

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“After the bloating, mood changes, and countless injections, the only thing that truly kept me dedicated to continuation of the process was the thought that a recipient was relying on me to help them create a family. That was enough to motivate me through and ultimately is the only reason I would consider donating again.”

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