AState’s Diversifying Our Curing Community Program Wins Award

JONESBORO – Arkansas State University’s Diversifying Our Curing Community (DOCC) program is a 2023 INSIGHT Into Diversity Inspiring Programs in STEM Award recipient.

This award honors colleges and universities that encourage and assist students from underrepresented groups to enter the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

DOCC, formed in 2021, is a four-year program for students who are seeking a career as a medical doctor. Qualifying students receive multiple benefits, including a $1,500 stipend per semester, intensive advising, and mentoring by science faculty members.

“This program was the brainchild of Dr. Lynn Boyd, retired dean of the College of Science and Mathematics. She saw the importance of this program and this award serves as verification of her vision and the need for such a program,” said Dr. Lonnie Williams, vice chancellor for the Division of Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement.

Dr. Jennifer Bouldin, interim dean of the College of Sciences and Mathematics, said this award is well deserved.

“Diversity in healthcare expands the capabilities of our medical care system by breaking down cultural barriers and helping patients feel comfortable with medical doctors who resemble them,” said Bouldin, who also is a professor of environmental biology.

DOCC will be among 79 other programs to be recognized in the September issue of the magazine.

Award winners were selected based on efforts to inspire and encourage a new generation of young people to consider careers in STEM through mentoring, teaching, research, and successful programs and initiatives.

“This program enhances the DOCC students’ success in their undergraduate journey by providing them peer mentors and advisers who take special interest in their success. Many have also acquired internships with local hospitals to expose them to the career path they wish to follow,” said Bouldin.

Williams said this program is important not only for A-State, but for students currently enrolled and those who will enroll in the future.

“This program serves as a great resource for students from underrepresented populations in assisting and guiding them through this tough curriculum,” he said. “The additional guidance and financial assistance could be the motivating factors to their success.”

The future of the program could be impacted by this award, in a positive way. Williams said being recognized with this award will bring national attention to the program.

“Hopefully the recognition will bring enough interest in our grant applications to receive additional funding to operate the program,” he concluded.

Earlier this year, DOCC won a grant from the Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas to help fund the program for two years.

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