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Minority health professionals tour country to mentor

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Sydney Neely is a senior at Winston-Salem State University. She’s majoring in biology and minoring in chemistry. She hopes to get accepted into a dental school and is turning to a mentoring program to help her achieve her goals.

Neely attended an event offered through an organization called Tour For Diversity in Medicine. Two African-American medical professionals started this nonprofit in 2012. Now in its fifth year, the organization tours the country with a diverse group physicians, dentists and pharmacists to educate and inspire future health professionals.

Dr. Alden M. Landry, an emergency medicine physician from Boston, and Dr. Kameron Matthews, deputy executive director of provider relations and services for the Veterans Health Administration from Washington, D.C., are the founders. They say their group gives health professionals the opportunity to stress the importance of health care in all communities despite race and economic status, while also promoting diversifying the health care field with professionals from different races, genders and economic backgrounds.

The group has programs for both college and high school students, but held a college-specific mentoring session on the campus of Winston-Salem State University on Tuesday. There were 150 students from colleges across the Piedmont who signed up for a day full of free mentoring that focused on test preparations, application advice and panel discussions by health professionals.

The group visits universities in Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. They target schools that serve predominately minority students.

The tours happen twice a year and last one week. This was the only stop in North Carolina for this tour schedule.