For many years, organizations affiliated with UVA have collaborated with elementary, middle, and high schools throughout the city to expose students from underrepresented backgrounds to medicine and biomedical sciences. Unfortunately, most of these collaborations have led to one-time events with very minimal lasting impact. During the summer of 2018, members of UVA SNMA (Student National Medical Association) decided to take action. They were very aware of not only the importance of diversity in medicine, but also the unique set of challenges faced by these students. They realized that in order to increase the number of under-represented minorities (URMs) in medicine and create a more diverse healthcare force, they needed to take a novel approach. That led to creation of Discover Medicine, a year-long program that brings high school students from underrepresented backgrounds to the medical campus every month during the school year to expose them to medicine.
Discover Medicine is committed to creating a diverse healthcare force by increasing the number of physicians from underrepresented backgrounds through early exposure to medicine, longitudinal mentorship, research, and community service.