Medical student group celebrates their unique identity

Emily Garcia; Senila Yasmin, MPH; & Benayas Begashaw, Tufts University School of Medicine / The Center / January 03, 2023

Students sitting around a table eating dinner awaiting a keynote speaker for their celebration day event

In honor of National First-Generation Celebration Day, the Tufts University School of Medicine (TUSM) celebrated our first-ever First Generation in Medicine (FGiM) Dinner Reception on November 3rd, 2022 to recognize the fantastic achievements of our first-gen students, staff, and faculty. The event was filled with vibrant first-generation staff, faculty, and students who connected with each other through their shared experiences as first in their families to pursue medicine.

Our student organization, FGiM, was only formed three years ago by current fourth-year students at TUSM, and since then, it has worked hard to expand participation, advocate for specific needs, and provide resources to all first-generation medical students. We hosted a “Med School 101” session to help our first-years with their transition into medical school. We created a GroupMe which has fostered an incredible community of support and advice between all class years. We organized mentorship groups with first-generation faculty and students from all four class years to provide students with more targeted advice and support. More importantly, we grew into a well-recognized and sustainable student group that will continue to champion the unique experiences of first-generation students for years to come.

We grew into a well-recognized and sustainable student group that will continue to champion the unique experiences of first-generation students for years to come.

We had the great fortune of gaining a faculty mentor for TUSM FGiM, Dr. Hyacinth Mason, who has already provided us with so much guidance and support. Our strength this year has been in sharing the wealth–including the wealth of knowledge obtained by our upper-class students to pass down to newer students, the wealth of guidance from upper-class students and faculty in advising on different pathways forward, and the wealth of resources and tips and tricks to be passed along to the incoming first-years to prepare them for all that lies ahead.

After all this hard work putting together and navigating through the vast sea of resources and guidance, we were able to celebrate the achievements of students at our FGiM Dinner Reception at both of our campuses in Boston and Maine. We featured student spotlights with pictures and fun facts about all our attendees; heard from student speaker Joshua Parbs, a second-year from our Maine campus; enjoyed the wisdom of our faculty speaker, Dr. Louis Tramontozzi, president of the Tufts Medical Alumni Association (TMAA); raffled off TUSM swag sponsored by the TMAA, created holiday cards for patients at the Cambridge Health Alliance Care Center; and enjoyed each other’s company over dinner. Moreover, the strong sense of community and support displayed at the FGiM dinner was applauded at the annual TMAA reception, where our Executive Board was invited to share our work with active TUSM alumni. After our presentation, many first-generation alumni approached us and asked to be added to our mentorship program, thus gaining even more recognition that positively impacts the future of our organization.

We would like to give special thanks to the TUSM Student Council, TUSM Multicultural Fellows Council, and the NASPA Center for First-Generation Student Success for funding this event.

Tufts University School of Medicine's 2022 First-Generation College Celebration was made possible by a $500 grant from the Center for First-generation Student Success and the Council for Opportunity in Education. Learn more about their celebration here!