They all just matched at their respective schools!
A group of Tulane medical students are hoping to inspire other young African Americans to follow in their footsteps, WWLTV reports.
“The 15 White Coats” are a coalition of Tulane medical students who sponsor scholarships for their peers. They went viral a few years ago when they posed for a photo in front of the Whitney Plantation in Edgard, Louisiana draped in their white coats, captioned, “We are our ancestors’ wildest dreams.”
The goal was to inspire other Black children to become doctors and create pathways that will help boost the numbers, only 2% of U.S. doctors identifying as Black. Now the group of med students are getting prepared for graduation, recently joining fourth-year med students across the country who have discovered where they’ve been matched for residency. While match day is significantly emotional for med students everywhere, for these 15, it is a reminder of the importance of their dreams for other Black students who will come after them.
“You have to think about how can you be what you can’t see. We say that all the time. We have to think about the things that people tell you, you can’t do, I was told that this wasn’t going to happen, said Sydney Labat.
Labat is from Bay St. Louis and has matched for residency at Ochsner where she will spend the next few years in anesthesiology. Labat said finally matching and preparing for residency brought her to tears.
Her fellow white coat, Dr. Russell Ledet agreed. Ledet currently holds an MBA and a Ph.D. in molecular oncology and tumor immunology. He is also gearing up to graduate from Tulane and had the pleasure of coming full circle in his journey, returning to the hospital where he once worked as a security guard, as a medical student. Ledet says he still has more to prove and doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon, the 35-year-old matching in Indiana. Upon completion, he’ll be a doctor times three, in pediatrics, adult psychiatry and children and adolescent psychiatry.
“Coming from where I come from, it doesn’t happen, and I want to be the force of nature for the future…A lot of issues we see in our community comes from nobody addressing the fact that mental health is at the forefront of everything we do. So it’s my job to make sure that I’m a lion in the den, and we get the job done,” said Dr. Ledet.
Christen Brown is also headed for graduation from Tulane, a first-generation college grad, matching at Wake Forest for dermatology. She is grateful for this journey, her family, The 15 White Coats, and of course her ancestors.
“If they could only see, but I feel them here. I know they’re proud, and I hope to continue to make them, my family, and Tulane proud,” said Brown.
To learn more about the work of The 15 White Coats click here.
Congratulations to all of the Tulane Medical students!
Photo Courtesy of WWLTV