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Minnesota's Future Doctors measure up

Mohamed Hassan (Photo: Scott Streble)

After witnessing the ravages of war in his native country of Somalia, Mohamed Hassan was determined to pursue a career in medicine. “I was inspired [to act] by seeing the civil war … and many people dying of simple things that could easily be cured,” he says.

Hassan, who moved to Minneapolis at the age of 10 and graduated from South High School, didn’t know how he would reach his goal — until he learned about Minnesota’s Future Doctors, which put the U of M junior on track to begin medical school in 2013.

Now in its fifth year, the University of Minnesota program prepares undergraduates from underrepresented communities across the state for admission to medical school. It offers counseling and courses that prepare these students for the competitive application process and provides shadowing, mentorship, and internship opportunities that give students a close-up look at what it means to be a doctor.

With help from Minnesota’s Future Doctors for the last three years, Hassan is a big step closer to achieving his dream. “Through the Minnesota’s Future Doctors program, I learned what it takes to be a solid [premedical student] and all of the different things one has to do outside of academics,” he says.

Today’s Future Doctors

Today’s Future Doctors are highly talented and motivated, as program director Jo Peterson, Ph.D., attests. “These kids take my breath away at every turn,” she says. “They represent the best of who we are as a society.”

In addition to their everyday undergraduate studies, they participate in numerous academic, professional, and community-building activities. Hassan, for example, is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in biology, society, and environment, and recently completed a summer internship at Yale School of Medicine, an opportunity he found through Minnesota’s Future Doctors.

“If it wasn’t for Minnesota’s Future Doctors, I wouldn’t have heard about the program, nor would I have had the courage to apply to such a prestigious Ivy League school,” he says. “The program has helped me to believe in myself and reach for things I never imagined possible.”

The Minnesota’s Future Doctors program strives to help students like Hassan accomplish their goals of becoming physicians. Continue reading to learn more about three other students and their paths to medical school.

Student profile: Rachel Kay

St. Paul native Rachel Kay, who is working toward her bachelor’s degree in human evolutionary biology at Harvard College, hopes to return to the Midwest to pursue her dream of becoming a doctor. Read more about Kay’s goal of working in a level 1 trauma center and how her experience with the Minnesota’s Future Doctors programs is invaluable.

Student profile: Joohee Han

University of Minnesota undergraduate student Joohee Han plans to begin medical school in August 2013. Of being involved in Minnesota’s Future Doctors, Han says, “The program means everything to my future.” Read more about Han’s amazing journey to Minnesota and how she plans to tackle her goals of being a doctor.

Student profile: Daniel Cheriye

Future University of Minnesota Medical School student and Ethiopia native Daniel Cheriye aspires to become a neurosurgeon. Read more about why Cheriye decided to pursue medicine and how the Minnesota’s Future Doctors program helped him achieve his goals.


By Lesley Schack, associate director of donor relations at the Minnesota Medical Foundation

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