A Student-Run Program for Social Justice

In the increasingly complex world of medicine where clinical knowledge is estimated to double every 18 months, four Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai students recognized that their education was missing an important component. Salina Bakshi, Marie Hennelly, Andrea Jakubowski and Aisha James took a critical look at the medical school curriculum and realized that while anatomy trains future surgeons and child development trains future pediatricians, there was no designated course discussing important issues in social justice. Thus, in 2011, the midst of their busy first year schedule, they started the Human Rights and Social Justice Scholars Program (HRSJ), a comprehensive one-year track giving students the tools, resources and mentorship to pursue the diverse aspects of health equity and social justice.

Salina Bakshi, Marie Hennelly, Andrea Jakubowski, Aisha James and the first eleven HRSJ scholar

I met Salina, Marie, Andrea and Aisha in the student lounge during the week before they would begin their third year clerkships. Given their tremendous accomplishment, I was expecting a rambunctious group, eagerly speaking and interrupting each other. Instead, I was met by a group which exuded quiet confidence and intelligence. They spoke thoughtfully and precisely – each contributing their unique expertise and experiences.

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