Closing the gap in health disparities to bring health care to people who need it CWRU graduate plans to use his medical

April 30th, 2012
Michael Knight is a student who makes people shake their heads and ask, “how do you do it?” He led the Student National Medical Association (SNMA), gave vocal coaching to members of Doc Opera and volunteered in Cleveland’s neighborhoods. That’s just a few of activities that Knight, a 2012 graduate of the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University, undertook as a medical student.

“When you have a passion, you work long hours and give up watching television or other things to get it done,” says Knight.

Knight’s medical school experience included research on cancer and other projects at the Cleveland Clinic and a National Institutes of Health Clinical Research Training Program in Washington, D.C., in diabetes research. He advocated for and mentored minority youths in Cleveland and at the national level in his role as the immediate past president of SNMA.

“I let them know they can have a career in medicine, law, or another field even if they don’t see these people in their neighborhoods,” said Knight, who grew up in the Bronx in New York City. He did his undergraduate work at Oakwood University in Huntsville, Ala., where he majored in biomedical sciences with a minor in vocal performance music.

While in medical school, Knight also championed those facing medical issues because of health disparities. He fought for HIV/AIDS awareness and spearheaded a national outreach effort with SNMA’s 6,000 members and made a public service announcement that ran online and in social media. He also researched a number of medical issues, including diabetes, which particularly impacts African-American women. He had the opportunity to testify as SNMA’s spokesperson about health disparities before members of the U.S. Senate.
he will attend Commencement on Sunday, May 20, in Veale Convocation Center, and later in at Severance Hall, to receive his diploma to the cheers of 40 relatives who welcome and honor the family’s first medical doctor.

This is the 10th year of the unique research-based medical program for students at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University, who pursue research and medical careers. Knight is in the fifth graduating class in the five-year program for their M.D. degree.

Knight credits the great support he received from his mentor, Dr. John Glazer, a psychiatrist at the Cleveland Clinic whom Knight said, “was there for me day or night.”

Upon graduation, Knight carries with him the valuable lesson “that you can dispense all the medicines a person needs, but if they go home to a place without electricity or worry about the children’s education and safety that medicine isn’t enough.”

Knight says his goal is to work both in a hospital and to make changes in the neighborhood happen or all those social conditions can keep a person sick. “We need a holistic approach to medicine,” he says.

He wants to close the gap in health disparities.

Provided by Case Western Reserve University

This Phys.org Science News Wire page contains a press release issued by an organization mentioned above and is provided to you “as is” with little or no review from Phys.Org staff.

More news stories

Sony's quarterly loss balloons on mobile woes

Sony's losses ballooned to 136 billion yen ($1.2 billion) last quarter as the Japanese electronics and entertainment company's troubled mobile phone division reported huge red ink.

China web users laud Apple boss for coming out

Apple chief Tim Cook's announcement of his homosexuality was the top topic on Chinese Internet forums Friday, with many users lauding him as a hero—and some joking about his declaration. ...

Australia set to pay polluters to cut emissions

Australia is set to approve measures giving polluters financial incentives to reduce emissions blamed for climate change, in a move critics described as ineffective environmental policy.

Independent safety investigation needed in the NHS

The NHS should follow the lead of aviation and other safety-critical industries and establish an independent safety investigation agency, according to a paper published today by the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. The au ...

Sexual fantasies: Are you normal?

Hoping for sex with two women is common but fantasizing about golden showers is not. That's just one of the findings from a research project that scientifically defines sexual deviation for the first time ever. It was undertaken ...