Prospective Medical Students Hear from UVA Alum on Overcoming Obstacles

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Dr. Pinn spoke to students from underrepresented backgrounds Dr. Pinn spoke to students from underrepresented backgrounds
Dr. Vivian Pinn Dr. Vivian Pinn

A diverse group of students looking to pursue careers in the medical field took home some words of encouragement from an outstanding University of Virginia alumnus.

Those students are part of UVA's Summer Medical Leadership Program.

On Tuesday, July 10, they welcomed Dr. Vivian Pinn, who earned her medical degree from the University of Virginia in 1967.

At that time, she was the only woman and the only African-American student in her class.

The summer program welcomes roughly 30 undergraduate students from underrepresented and disadvantaged backgrounds each year.

For more than 20 years, Dr. Pinn has come back to inspire students to think about a career in medicine, research, or healthcare. This year, her speech focused on leadership, women's health, and research.

“We don't always have mentors and we don't always have people who reach out to young people,” says Pinn. “I missed that when I was coming up, and I think that's why I really feel responsible for doing what I can to work with young people.”

She pressed these potential future leaders to overcome barriers that may come their way.

Dr. Pinn says if students stick with it and don't give up on their dreams, they can make a difference.

She says diversity in leadership positions at the top can help make a difference for others.