Updated: Aug 25, 2020
If you missed our 1st Annual Top Docs and Hot Shots 3 on 3 Tournament for 5th-8th grade boys, you missed a treat. In this unique event, we introduced the field of medicine over a friendly game of basketball with the goal of attracting young boys of color to one of the most rewarding careers ever. The boys, largely from AAU teams across Chicago, battled competitively through several brackets with the goal of winning basketball trophies and prizes. What they came away with, however, was so much more.
Dr. Conway is passionate about her mission to expand the physician pipeline of I AM ABEL FOUNDATION and to prepare and produce more physicians of color. Studies suggest, that minority physicians return to their communities to practice medicine more than physicians from any other demographic. Dr. Conway has therefore aligned the foundation to play a key role in reducing healthcare disparities by increasing the number of physicians of color available to serve our underserved communities with passion, pride, dignity and a deep sense of humanity.
Especially near and dear to her heart however is a concern for the relative disappearance of black men from medicine. There are now fewer practicing black male physicians today than there was in 1970. "We've gone backwards in time. There is a systematic attack against our young black men on every front in the U.S. and we must all do our part to shift the narrative. But you have to "see it to be it." This event was designed to provide inspiration and easily recognized examples to our young boys who might not have ever considered a career in medicine without basketball as the draw.
The morning kicked off with a keynote address from Dr. Michael McGee, the Director of Emergency Medicine at Methodist Hospital in Gary Indiana followed by tip off for game time. He is also the founder of POP against violence, a Northwest Indiana based nonprofit devoted to decreasing violence in our schools. It was then tip off time and the next 3 hrs the kids played ball to win.
As the kids shifted towards the championship games, they were transitioned into the medical camp. The next 3 hrs the students enjoyed lunch with Loyola Medical Students and Chicago Top Docs followed by medical stations that included blood pressure measurements, CPR, Anatomy (with a real cadaver) and Simulation Labs. The suturing workshop was a HUGE hit with the kids and judging from their attentiveness, I see some future surgeons in the group. Quite honestly, the kids enjoyed the medical experiences as much as they did the game of basketball
The afternoon came to a close with Division Championships for 5th-6th grade and 7th-8th grade with some close calls and a few surprises. The entire day left us all inspired because it was never more clear that from among these talented, bright and competitive young boys would arise many "black men in white coats."
A special thanks to Loyola Stritch Anatomy Professors, Dr. Michael Dauzardis and Dr. Janet Kelly for taking out time from their Sunday to share this invaluable experience with our students. The kids loved the simulation experience as well as seeing their very first cadaver in "real life."
I also can't thank enough Loyola Stritch Medical Students and especially Loyola's Student National Medical Association (SNMA) for your devoted and skilled leadership throughout the event. This would not have been possible without each of you.
We also have to thank Joe Berg and the entire Loyola Center for Fitness for the gracious use of arguably one of the most beautiful fitness centers in all of Chicagoland. The staff was warm and helpful as always. The parents loved the facility and we all appreciated the hospitality.
A big thanks to our amazing planning committee as well. We took a dream and followed it from just a small vision to a full blown event. Sincere thanks to Christian and Corey Conway, Sharad and Rosalyn Crosby as well as our event co-chairs, Keven Stonewall and Eseosa Aiwerioghene, both 2nd year medical students at Loyola Stritch.
And finally, we thank Coach James Foster, Impact Basketball, for bringing to us our greatest gift - our children. The entire team of coaches as well as our very competent refs kept the games highly professional and well run. A total win.
I AM ABEL FOUNDATION is raising our next generation of healthcare heroes. Join the movement!