Diversity Mentorship Program: Information for medical students

First- through fourth-year medical students who are considered to be underrepresented in medicine* may apply to participate in the American Academy of Dermatology’s Diversity Mentorship Program. This unique program offers hands-on exposure to students who are interested in learning more about dermatology as a medical specialty through a one-on-one mentorship experience with a dermatologist of the student's choice. 

Watch this video to learn more about diversity mentorship at the Academy.



Students who shadow a mentor oftentimes develop professional relationships that follow the students through their residency and into key junctures in their career.

A lack of ethnic diversity exists among dermatology's physician population. This affects ethnic minority patients because they may seek medical care less frequently or when it is too late. As the U.S. population continues to grow, diversifying our physician population of dermatologists will bring a unique perspective to the field and encourage patients to seek care more regularly.

This mentorship encompasses 160 hours during the course of one month. Medical students commonly participate in this program in the summer months, but it must be complete by Dec. 1. The mentorship may be completed in a choice of environments such as a medical center, private practice, etc.

Upon application to the program, a medical student may choose a mentor on his or her own, or he or she can choose from the AAD's mentor list. At this time, a stipend will not be provided for the 2014 program participants.

The American Academy of Dermatology’s Diversity Mentorship Program is available to first- through fourth-year medical students who are underrepresented in medicine. The Academy recognizes the following racial groups as underrepresented in the field of dermatology (as related to the U.S. population): African-American, Hispanic, American Indian/Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander. An applicant must be a U.S. citizen or have a permanent resident visa.

Your mentor must be selected prior to submitting your application. To begin your search, we suggest contacting dermatologists at your university or within your community. The Academy also has a listing of eligible mentors in our online mentor list (please select the Diversity Mentorship Program in the "Mentor Program" field). Please note, mentors must be members of the Academy to be considered for the program.

Upon completion of your mentorship (by Dec. 1 of the year in which you receive the award), you are required to submit an evaluation of the program and a brief description of your future plans to pursue dermatology.

Congratulations to the 2013 Diversity Mentorship Program participants:

  • Ifeoma Aguanunu, MS3, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Danso Ako-Adjei, MS3, SUNY Upstate Medical
  • Cynthia Anyanwu, MS4, Georgetown University School of Medicine
  • Olabola Awosika, MS1, Howard University College of Medicine
  • Nikoleta Brankov, MS1, Loma Linda University School of Medicine
  • Leah Cardwell, MS2, Howard University College of Medicine
  • Lucas Cavallin, MS1, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
  • Thy Huynh, MS3, University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • Imoh Ikpot, MS1, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University
  • Michael Liu, MS1, University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health
  • Joann Lodescar, MS2, New York Medical College
  • Pamela Madu, MS1, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
  • Athanasios Manole, MS3, University of New Mexico School of Medicine
  • Brittany Mcunu, MS3, Howard University College of Medicine
  • Gabriel Ochoa, MS1, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons
  • Maureen Offiah, MS3, University of Mississippi Medical Center School of Medicine
  • Oluwatobi Ogbechie, MS3, Harvard Medical School
  • Jeannette Olazagasti, MS3, UPR School of Medicine
  • Alejandro Rabionet, MS1, University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine
  • Silvana Rolong, MS1, Florida State University
  • Brandon Romero, MS1, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
  • Cristian Serna-Tamayo, MS3, New Jersey Medical School
  • Nelly Song, MS3, UT-Houston
  • Joseph Valentin, MS1, University of Minnesota Twin Cities
  • Sedona Valentine, MS1,The Ohio State University College of Medicine
  • Gregory Yanez, MS3, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Lisa Zhang, MS3, University of Illinois at Chicago

The application for the 2014 program is now closed. The application for the 2015 program will open in the fall. 

Contact: Tara Smith, Director, Operations, Member Services
Phone: (847) 240-1248
Fax: (847) 240-1859
Email: tsmith@aad.org

Required information for consideration:  

  • Online application.
  • A copy of your résumé or curriculum vitae.
  • A copy of your medical school transcript. First-year students may submit a list of current classes.
  • Two professional letters of recommendation.

Please visit our frequently asked questions page for more information about the program.

"I received the AAD's diversity mentorship award in the summer of 2006 and I'm now a dermatology resident. I never could have reached this point without the kind support and generosity of mentors and organizations such as the AAD. Thank you and the rest of the AAD committee for providing me with such a terrific experience."

Jane Yoo, MD, program recipient