Minority high school students get prescription to medicine training

Growing up in a rough section of Atlanta, Michael Hendrix learned early on that the surest way to get into Grady Memorial Hospital was to be stuck on the wrong end of a bullet, knife or beat down.

“I stay in the rough area and I have seen a lot of the stuff. I have seen people get shot, stabbed. It happens in my neighborhood,” said Hendrix, an 18-year-old senior at Mays High School. “So taking me out of this environment and taking me to the hospital to see how the other side works was deep.”

What put Hendrix on the other side was a program sponsored by the Morehouse School of Medicine designed to expose mostly inner city kids to various medical specialties by working with medical faculty, residents and students from Morehouse and Emory University at Grady for 10 weeks.

"The Reach One Each One Program: Youth Mentoring and Medical Exposure Program for High School Students," was started by Omar Danner, an associate professor of surgery and director of trauma at the Morehouse School of Medicine, after growing tired of watching a stream of black boys and girls streaming into the hospital with gunshot and stab wounds.

“We go in to operate on these kids to save or try to save them. We are operating and patching them up and sending them back to the streets,” said Danner, who is also a trauma surgeon at Grady. “I wanted to do something to show at least some of these kids that there was another avenue.”

Hendrix went into the program, on the recommendation of one of his teachers, because he wanted to go into dermatology. The program kind of shifted his thinking.

“What I got most out of the program was it gave me more of an awareness of everything that actually happens in the hospital,” Hendrix said. “And it kind of showed me that being a doctor is not for me. I want to be the CEO of a hospital. We still need people to run the hospital.”