Ashley Wade ’22 has been accepted into the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai through the Donald and Vera Blinken FlexMed Program. The early assurance program selects undergraduate second-year students who are self-directed learners, succeed through academic rigor and mentorship, and demonstrate a “strong appreciation of human rights and social justice,” according to its website.
Ashley plans to matriculate at Mt. Sinai in the fall of 2022 or 2023, following her graduation from UNC-Chapel Hill and depending on a possible gap year. The school is based in New York City with eight hospital campuses across the city’s five boroughs.
The global studies major and Spanish for the Medical Professions minor said that she was drawn to the school for its mission to develop physicians and scientists who are activists with a desire to enact social change through their work.
“It was important for me to choose a school that focuses on the socioeconomic determinants of health and disease outcomes in addition to the biological causes of sickness,” said Ashley, who is passionate to combat race and income-based inequality in obtaining access to health treatment and services.
The early acceptance frees recipients from taking traditional pre-med course requirements and the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). It encourages students to explore a variety of research interests in college outside of those that strictly relate to medicine. Ashley said she’s grateful for the academic freedom toconsider complex healthcare issues from a wide range of viewpoints without being limited by any one school or discipline.
“The academic plan I proposed to Mt. Sinai was to understand perspectives and experiences of marginalized groups in the United States as well as the history of exploitation and distrust in the medical system by looking at issues such as racism and heterosexism,” she said, citing her recent anthropology courses at Carolina on Blackness in America as well as native writers throughout the world as being especially impactful in mapping out her vocational goals. “Becoming more educated and informed on these problems will make me be a better doctor.”
Ashley also attributed the success of the acceptance as being in large part due to the support she's received from Morehead-Cain, saying the Program gave her the opportunities to explore her interests and "develop a strong foundation for the future."
This fall, Ashley’s curricular plans include a criminal justice reform course to study the public health problem of mass incarceration and to continue pursuing her interests in women’s health and reproductive rights. Outside of course work, she plans to work as a Spanish translator at the SHAC Medical Clinic, a student-run free clinic through the UNC School of Medicine, and as a volunteer support group facilitator at the Orange County Rape Crisis Center.
The scholar has been working a remote internship this summer at Curamericas Global, a nonprofit in Raleigh. The organization partners with underserved Latinx communities locally and internationally to improve healthcare services and education.