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I Am Abel Foundation offers three amazing mentoring opportunities for our future researchers and physicians.  They include the Urban Bridges Medical Mentoring Program, in partnership with Northwestern Medicine, the Urban Bridges Student Affiliate Program and new to the lineup, OrthoReach, an Orthopedic Surgery Pipeline Program in partnership with University of Chicago’s Orthopedic Surgery and Rehabilitative Medicine Department.  To learn more about each program, please visit the link describing that program in detail.

The Urban Bridges Medical Mentoring Program is our flagship program.  It is a three-tiered program, open to high school, undergraduate, college graduates and postbaccalaureate students.  It is designed to expose underrepresented, inner city youth interested in becoming a physician to careers in medicine. The key components of this program consist of the Saturday Morning Professor Lecture Series, a monthly seminar taught by Chicago’s Top Docs that teaches students “the language of medicine” by exposing students to a wide range of medical knowledge through clinical cases.  The second component is One-on-One Physician Mentoring, where students are partnered one to one with a physician mentor who will guide them on their journey to medicine.  Most of our students are also partnered with an area medical student who are just a few steps ahead of our mentees and are therefore very familiar with the journey ahead.  The final critical component is what we call Affirmative Academic Advising.  In this, we tell the student what they can do rather than focusing on their shortcomings. Our affirmational approach seeks to  provide students with the additional resources and support needed to give their vision wings. We also offer a wide range of support to our students that can include anything from tutoring to MCAT Prep.  The Urban Bridges Medical Mentoring Program will give our talented students the competitive edge needed to be a successful medical school applicant and matriculant.  2021 We have added Small Mentoring Circles as a way to expand your mentoring pool and focus on other helpful areas of your personal and professional life with a small group of students that share your same interest.  It’s just another layer of I Am Abel Foundation’s holistic approach to your growth as future medical professional that’s compassionate, well-rounded, well-informed and balanced.


The Urban Bridges Medical Mentoring Program has numerous activities, series, and sub-programs that are tremendously helpful in developing both the technical knowledge and interpersonal skills vital to our students’ success.  

The contents of the program are listed as follows:

Saturday Morning

Saturday Morning Professor

The Saturday Morning Professor Lecture Series is a monthly seminar, occurring every third Saturday, taught by the best and brightest physicians in the Chicagoland area from major academic centers like Northwestern, Rush, University of Illinois and more.

They will immerse students in the field medicine through case-based learning which is highly effective and incredibly interesting.  The learning is highly interactive and hands-on.  Teaching is both didactic and in small group settings. This blended approach is highly effective.

Urban Bridges Medical Mentoring Program.

First year students in the Urban Bridges Medical Mentoring Program will participate in the Intro to History Taking and The Patient lecture series where they will learn how to do a complete patient history and will be introduced to critical first steps in the physical exam.  

This curriculum is foundational to the mentoring program and provides the substantive learning experience that makes the mentoring program complete.  Saturday Morning Professor is therefore a requirement for those that choose the mentoring experience.

Students will also learn about health policy, epidemiology and biostatistics, as well as participate in a scientific journal club that concludes with a poster presentation. The end of the year will culminate with Simulated Patient Exam Competitions where the student is the doctor and will be assessed accordingly.  At this event, students wear their white coat and the interview is recorded.  Our amazing physicians serve as the standardized patients.  The winners of this event have the opportunity to compete for scholarships that include a wide range of our study abroad opportunities as well as academic or book scholarships and the awards vary each cycle.  FULL PARTICIPATION in Saturday Morning Professor is MANDATORY.  Students unable to participate fully in the curriculum should not apply.  

-Second year students and beyond will participate in the Advanced Curriculum lecture series.  These feature 6 month “semesters” that focus on a particular specialty in medicine and allows students to get a more in depth look at all that the field of medicine has to offer. Each year, a new six-month series will be added. By the end of each series, students will have an exceptional introduction to that specialty , preparing them for successful clinical shadowing experiences and early exposures to subspecialties which is often unheard of amongst pre-med students. Specialties include cardiology, gastroenterology, Introduction to Physical Exam with more to come!

Urban Bridges Medical Mentoring Program.

One on One Physician Mentoring

The One-on-One Mentoring component of the Urban Bridges Medical Mentoring Program is essential for the simple reason that students must “see it to be it”. Partnering students with physician and medical student mentors puts a real, personal face to medicine and allows each student to build a connection with their physician mentor, broaden their network, and in many cases, shadow their mentor in a clinical environment.

One-on-One Physician and Medical Student  Mentoring is an invaluable, continuous experience that is one of the crown jewels of the Urban Bridges Medical Mentoring Program. Students are asked to meet with their mentors every 1-2 months but it can be more often if that works. Students have developed life long friendships with their mentors which has extended to their families.  I Am Abel Foundation Mentors are the best!


I Am Abel Foundation offers three amazing mentoring opportunities for our future researchers and physicians.  They include the Urban Bridges Medical Mentoring Program, in partnership with Northwestern Medicine, the Urban Bridges Student Affiliate Program and new to the lineup, OrthoReach, an Orthopedic Surgery Pipeline Program in partnership with University of Chicago’s Orthopedic Surgery and Rehabilitative Medicine Department.

OrthoReach - Urban Bridges Medical Mento

The OrthoReach program is a new and exciting program that makes its entrance March 2021.  It is open to students that have matriculated successfully in our Urban Bridges Medical Mentoring Program and are serious about exploring a career in Orthopedic Surgery.  The OrthoReach Pipeline Program represents a robust partnership between the University of Chicago’s Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitation Medicine and I Am Abel Foundation.  Through didactic lectures and surgical cases that bring Orthopaedics to life, Dr. Christopher Hicks, Director of OrthoReach provides a priceless opportunity to our mentees.  Students meet quarterly and are partnered with an orthopedic surgery resident, fellow or attending.   You will see everything from casting to splinting to learning how complicated fractures and sports injuries are treated and more.   Eligible mentees with good performance, will be notified when they may apply to this amazing new program.  

This program is open only to active mentees currently enrolled in the Urban Bridges Medical Mentoring Pipeline Program.

Affirmative Academic Advising

Our academic advising is affirmational.  We are committed to telling our students what they CAN do and HOW to do it. academic advising.JPG

Students have heard plenty of people tell them what’s not possible.  We won’t do that.  We will work with our students to identify their unique needs or barriers and develop a plan that makes sense for them.  After attending an Academic Advising Boot Camp, students will have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with a  physician advisor who will evaluate their academic standing and provide them with feedback on what steps to take next.  Each student will have two academic advising sessions annually but can meet more often if needed.

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Academic STEM Center

It is important to note that the road to becoming a great physician starts with being a great student.  There are no substitutes for that.  

While we inspire, encourage and believe in each of our students, we also fully understand that “faith without works is dead.” We therefore have an Academic STEM Center that is devoted to providing the resources that our students need from Organic Chemistry tutoring to MCAT Prep.  We are adding resources each year.  If you need help, you only need to ask.  If we can help, we will.

Small Mentoring Circles

One of the latest additions to the UBMM Program is the commencement of our Physician and Medical Student Lead Mentoring Circles. 


Students will have the opportunity to attend mostly physician led, small group mentoring sessions that cover a multitude of topics including an empathy series, MCAT bootcamp, self-care and mental health workshop, etc.   Mentoring Circles allow students to improve their emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills through team building and small group exercises.  It’s fun and low pressure.  Unlike Saturday Morning Professor, it is also optional.  I’m sure you will find several mentoring circles you’d like to join.

Urban Bridges Medical Mentoring Program.

Summer Research, Health Policy and Clinical Immersion Programs

I Am Abel Foundation works hard at helping our students identify summer opportunities for Research, Clinical Immersion, MCAT Development and more.

Each year, I Am Abel foundation features a workshop that identifies a host of programs that our students are encouraged to apply to.  Some programs are working directly with us.  Other programs, like our CSIDPAR programs (Chicago Summer Institute for the Development of Physicians and Researchers) are sponsored by us, thus increasing your likelihood of identifying a stipend summer program that is just right for you.  All summer internships sponsored by I Am Abel Foundation are for our mentees only.

Annual Events and Conferences

UBMM mentees will have access to attend I Am Abel’s annual events and conferences including a summer picnic with SNMA and our physician mentors, a field trip to the Museum of Surgical Science, a summer book club, and much more! Mentees will also be invited to our annual gala where their matriculation into the program will be celebrated. 

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  • How much does each program cost?
    The value of the mentoring program is $5-7K annually depending on level of participation but is provided to our scholars free of charge primarily due to the generous support and countless volunteer hours of our physician leadership and volunteer staff.
  • Why would a student pick the Student Affiliate Program over the Urban Bridges Medical Mentoring Program?
    The Affiliate program is for for collegiate and post-baccalaureate students who are not in Chicago and are not able to attend Saturday Morning Professor and other in person events Ideal for students who need less of a time commitment due to other obligations Ideal for students who want to test the waters before becoming a full-fledged mentee in the Urban Bridges Medical Mentoring Program.
  • Is there an option for lateral entry into the Urban Bridges Medical Mentoring Program?
    Yes, after successfully finishing a year of the Student Affiliate Program you may apply for the Mentoring Program


To support or sponsor a very deserving scholar please donate.



I Am Abel Foundation Mentors. Learn more
I Am Abel Foundation Mentors. Learn more

A word from the OBAMA FOUNDATION

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