This program is designed to expose underrepresented, inner city youth interested in becoming a physician to careers in medicine.  We connect each student to a practicing physician, allowing the student to experience the career of medicine first hand through the life of the physician mentor.  Our physicians are leaders and innovators in their prospective fields and many are educators in top academic teaching hospitals here in Chicago. Urban Bridges Medical Mentoring Program will help our scholars establish an active rapport with their mentor and to experience various medical shadowing opportunities, whenever possible.  This will give our talented students the competitive edge needed to be a successful medical school applicant and matriculant. 


By 2030 our country will experience a potentially devastating physician shortage.  Our inner cities will be hardest hit.  Health disparity statistics have proven that physicians from vulnerable populations are most likely to return to serve that same population.  Anticipating this need, we have set out to prepare our successors in medicine. Preparing our scholars to lead, learn and to give back with a spirit of excellence are the principles we live by.  Our mission will not only help us meet a projected critical medical access need, but we believe that we are rewriting our city’s history – from the inside out.


Program features include seminars and events guided by our team of physicians.  Students will be exposed to the life of a primary care physician as well as to a multitude of subspecialties. Students will even learn about creating their own "brand" in medicine for those who envision a more creative career twist in medicine (telemedicine, medical journalism, pharmacovigilance, etc.).  All students will be required as well to complete certification in CPR.  More importantly, students will gain tips on how to successfully gain acceptance into medical school, which is of course where everything begins.  


Annually, we competitively select 30-35 scholars from Chicago area high schools, colleges and universities who are serious about becoming a physician and give them the tools they need to make their dream a reality. While there are never any guarantees, from admission to our program all the way to medical school, we travel hand in hand with our student scholars providing them the needed resources to succeed without dropping the ball.  We offer a structured and well-resourced program that offers a unique, wholistic approach to pre-med school planning which includes one-on-one physician mentoring, academic advising and pre-medical readiness training. 


URBAN BRIDGES MEDICAL MENTORING PROGRAM is a 3 tiered program designed to mentor, prepare and advise the pre-med student and to promote a successful start.


I Am Abel Foundation is a scholarship program.  Student scholars accepted into the program will have the entire cost of the program covered which is estimated at a $3,500.00 cost per student for one year.  Our Urban Bridges Medical Mentoring Program is a unique medically focused pipeline mentoring program unlike any program in the region and arguably the nation.  Many parents are paying for 1-2 week courses that offer far less and costs significantly more.  All students and parents are expected and required to participate in fund  raising activities to help defray the costs of providing a world class program to Chicago area students tuition free. 

One on One Physician Mentoring

We believe you must “see it to be it.”  Generations of physicians seen in some families and cultures are not by accident.  It is by design.  Parents often encourage interest in the “family profession” and the young people most often model what they see. They are therefore less intimidated by competitive career opportunities such as medicine when they have seen a family member successfully negotiate the same.  Our mentors put a real face on medicine.  They interact not just with the physician mentor but the mentor as a person.  Students will spend 2-4 hours every 1-2 months with the physician mentor who will help assess the student’s social and/or academic needs and provide the support needed.  In many cases, students will also be able to shadow their mentor and learn first hand about their mentor’s specialty.  The goal is to build a life long mentoring relationship that will hopefully carry the scholar through the amazing journey ahead.

Saturday Professor Series

This is our Monthly Seminar taught by the best and the brightest physicians in our city.  The goal of the series is to introduce the student to “the patient” by teaching him how to interact properly, compassionately and professionally with the patient.  Through interactive CASED BASED learning, the student, over the course of the year, will learn how to do a COMPLETE PATIENT HISTORY and will be introduced to critical first steps in the physical exam to include vitals.  This will give the scholar comfort while shadowing with their personal mentor and will put them at or ahead of the curve of other students who have been privileged to have this exposure prior to starting medical school.  They will also be introduced to fascinating topics to include EKG interpretation, introductions to reading X-rays, and cased based learning across a range of sub specialties.   The end of the year will culminate with Simulated Patient Exam Competitions where the student is the doctor and will be assessed accordingly.  Students MUST agree to attend sessions monthly.  Absences must be excused with written notice.

#PROUD Parent Lecture Series

Learning is not just for kids anymore!  Saturday morning professor series is now starting in 2019-20 a new Heart Smart Lecture Series especially for our  #PROUD Parents and Austin community citizens that will run during the same hour.  Topics will cover everything Heart from Atrial Fibrillation to Heart Failure.  Even as we prepare our students for careers in medicine, we will empower their #PROUD parents and our community as we promote health literacy for all.   This is how we change the narrative!


NEW! 2019-20 Class Heart Smart Introduction to Physical Diagnoses

Under the direction of Dr. Ike Okwuosa, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant Cardiology, I AM ABEL FOUNDATION will be starting our FIRST Introduction to Physical Diagnoses for our advanced students who are continuing through our pipeline programs.  The entire year is devoted to teaching our mentees an introduction to the patient through the physical exam that is focused on the cardiopulmonary system.  The curriculum, developed by Dr. Okwuosa and his team will introduce our continuing student mentees to cardiac anatomy, heart sounds, murmurs, EKG technology and other diagnostics.  By the end of the year, students will have had an exceptional introduction to the heart including some basic comfort with auscultation and will be that much more prepared for their clinical shadowing experiences.  This will also prepare them for their clinical experiences In med school which now begin in the very first year!  The goal is to expose our students to exciting fields of medicine,  build knowledge and confidence and to  help our students understand that medicine is not only attainable it is fun.  Please welcome Dr. Okwuosa!


Academic Advising

Each student will have two academic advising sessions annually.  While we will not take the place of formal institution based academic advising, we consider ourselves a very important part of the process.  Our academic advisors are I AM ABEL FOUNDATION’S Physicians leadership with years of experience and knowledge of admissions requirements for United States Medical Colleges.  Like our pre-med scholars, many of our physician advisors are themselves first generation college and medical school graduates.  As such, they have overcome many barriers familiar to our students and are an example of what can be accomplished with hard work and commitment.  As advisers, we see our role to support the student’s aspiration to become a physician and give them sound advice tools to give their vision wings.  In many cases, our students will hear for the first time “yes you can,” followed by “this is how.”



This program is available on a limited basis based on staffing, for Chicago area natives who are currently attending college or university downstate or out of state and therefore are unable to participate in the required program curriculum.  It is also appropriate for college graduates (post bacc students) who need additional support.    The following valuable resources are available to the Student Affiliate: 


URBAN BRIDGES MEDICAL MENTORING PROGRAM is built on the philosophy of “Push and Pull.”  Becoming a physician will not be easy so we won’t lie but it can be done.  We will encourage students to test and push their academic limits to discover their full potential and become their very best.  One thing we promise is that “if you push, we will pull.”  Thus our 3 tiered program are all undergirded by our support structure as follows:



We will be encouraging many of our students to take AP courses or alternatively take higher level science classes at the junior college (when AP or IB courses are not available)..  To ensure the student’s success, we offer tutoring in the areas of physics, higher level math and calculus, physics and chemistry

Standardized Testing

Critical Analysis/ACT/SAT/MCAT Prep.  Let’s face it.  To get into a top tiered college or into medical school, students MUST do well on standardized testing.  We have launched MCAT test prep this year and student are enrolled.  We are looking to launch test prep support for ACT and SAT in 2019.

College Corner

We have already enjoyed tremendous success with our Urban Bridges Medical Mentoring Program Scholars.  100% of our graduates have gone to top universities and many with scholarships.  Some of our students have even obtained FULL College scholarships with our coaching and support.  Our College Corner features workshops in the following areas:


Scholarship Finder assistance, including nominations to top programs requiring nominations             (competitive) (i.e. Posse Foundation), Quest Bridge, etc.              

Personal Statement writing

Mock Interviews



A referral program for research and summer opportunities in the life sciences as well as biophysical research and applied sciences at local universities or laboratories

(Available only to students in their second year or more in URBAN BRIDGES MEDICAL MENTORING PROGRAM)


Student Parent Orientation and Seminar

“Everything You Wanted To Know About Medical School But Didn’t know Who to Ask!”


Loyola Anatomy and Simulation Lab Visit


Medical School Tag Along Program

Spend a day with a local medical school in their 1st or 2nd year of medical school


Summer Picnic with SNMA and Physician Mentors

Museum Surgical Science Field Trip

Summer Book Club


Every student is required to become CPR certified and is expected to help train other high school students 


Annually, I AM ABEL FOUNDATION STUDENTS in the URBAN BRIDGES MEDICAL MENTORING PROGRAM will journey with us to the Student National Medical Association (SNMA’s) Annual conference.  The SNMA is the largest, oldest and most respected student organization for medical students of color. It is 4-5 days of education, networking, inspiration and pure enjoyment.

We will be taking the winners of our Patient Simulation Contest though others are welcome to travel with us at their own costs.  Get inspired!  


The opportunity to participate, with application waiving in our many other offerings including our INTERNATIONAL SCHOLARS STUDY ABROAD PROGRAM as well in numerous overseas humanitarian missions including Haiti, Africa and more.








This is where your journey begins!  Selected Scholars for the 2019 Class will be honored, presented and pinned by their mentors at our formal gala.  You will dress to impress and come be inspired as your dream finally takes sail!


  • Rising Chicago area Sophomore, Juniors, Seniors in High School

  • Rising Chicago area College Freshman through Seniors who are attending a CHICAGO AREA COLLEGE OR UNIVERSITY ONLY!!  (see Student Affiliate Program if you are attending a college or university in Downstate Illinois  or Out of State where participation in our required curriculum is not possible or desired by the student). 

  • Minimum GPA 2.75 

  • Complete registration which includes brief personal statement of 250 words or less telling us why you would like to be a part of our medical mentoring program

  • 1 letter of recommendation from your high school principal, teacher or college professor

  • If you are under 18 years of age, you must have parents permission to participate in our program

  • Open to residents of the Chicago metropolitan region



This is a coaching  program that will focus on Academic Advising and Program Support more suitable for post baccalaureate students or college students who do not currently reside or attend school within the Chicago metro area.

  • Serious students interested in guidance and support in pursuit of their aspirations to become physicians

  • This is per availability

  • Open to resident of the Chicago metropolitan region

  • GPA  ≥ 2.5 recommended (not required)

  • There is NO essay or Letter(s) of recommendation required



To support or sponsor a very deserving scholar please donate.







Please apply for the program that's most appropriate for you then complete the application by clicking here. You need to have a google account to be able to access the application. Please create a Google account if you do not have one. If you have any questions, please contact us at info@iamabel.org


Urban Bridges Medical Mentoring Program

You MUST complete the application form in its entirety.  If preferred, however, letters of reference, transcripts and personal statement as well as parental consents may be emailed  to info@iamabel.org (reference your application) or faxed to the attention of Dr. LaMenta Sweetie Conway at (855) 482-8236. You will need a reference form to be able to complete this application. Please click here to download your Reference/Teacher Evaluation Forms and parental consent forms.   Please return these to us by scanned email or by fax. Teacher Reference/Evaluation Forms can also be uploaded with your application. If you have any questions, please contact us at info@iamabel.org.

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