Cassie Hobbs and Michael Dumas, Spring 2015 graduates from Florida A&M University, will be continuing their education as first year medical students at Duke University and Indiana University this Fall. As part of the Summer 2013 class of ReTOOL Scholars, both proudly state that their experiences with the ReTOOL Program were very instrumental in shaping their careers as future physicians.
This year Duke University School of Medicine received over 6,000 applications. Of those 6,000 applicants, 109 were selected to be part of the incoming class of first year medical students. Among the thousands of applicants, ReTOOL alumna Cassie Hobbs was chosen. Interested in specializing in surgery, Ms. Hobbs plans to continue translational research in the cancer field.
During her tenure in the ReTOOL program, Ms. Hobbs conducted biomedical science research with her mentor Dr. Yehia Daaka. “ReTOOL was my first experience with research. This program taught me the skills I needed to do bench laboratory work and provided me the opportunity to be at the forefront of cutting edge research”, says Ms. Hobbs. Ms. Hobbs, the first place recipient of the 2013 ReTOOL Outstanding Scholar award, was recognized by the National Association of African American Honors Programs and presented her research at various conferences. Her work with Dr. Daaka was instrumental in helping her land an internship doing research at Massachusetts General Hospital in collaboration with Harvard University during her last summer as an undergraduate.
Cassie and her ReTOOL cohort and fellow classmate, Michael Dumas share similar sentiments in regards to the ReTOOL program. Michael, originally from Gary, Indiana, graduated from Florida A&M University with honors, as an FGLSAMP scholar and an exemplary member of the FAMU Chapter of Health Occupations Students of America Inc. In addition to his strong desire to help others through various community service activities, he feels that as an African-American male he will be very instrumental in providing quality healthcare to underserved communities.
“I am very interested in nutrition and the prevention of Diabetes in minority and underserved communities. I plan to specialize in a field which will allow me to practice medicine and conduct clinical research which focuses on these problems”, says Dumas. Michael’s mentor Dr. Philip Dahm was influential in giving Michael insight into the life of a physician researcher. Michael is intrigued by the overlap of the two professions and now realizes that it is possible to do both.
Every year the ReTOOL program, now co-sponsored by the Minority Cancer Research Training Center (MiCaRT) with the United States Department of Defense ReTOOL grant, accepts minority students from surrounding universities to come to the University of Florida. The students spend the summer learning in intensive seminars and conduct one-on-one biomedical health research with advanced researchers.
ReTOOL scholars are leaders and innovators. They are tenacious, passionate, and committed to decreasing health disparities and providing quality healthcare to underserved communities. The ReTOOL program is honored to support our ReTOOL alumni as they begin this next chapter.
Congratulations Cassie and Michael! ReTOOL is very proud of you and wish you the best!
By: Casandra Walker