Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiative

Minority groups traditionally under-represented in medicine (URM) are also under-represented in the field of ophthalmology. Increasing the level of diversity among ophthalmologists will allow us to better represent the patient populations we serve and may help reduce observed disparities in eye care and vision health.

To address minority representation in ophthalmology and to develop a more diverse pool of applicants for ophthalmology residency programs, the Kellogg Eye Center has initiated a Michigan Ophthalmology Pathway program within Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences to attract under-represented minorities to a career in ophthalmology.


  • Recruitment: The program contacts the Black Medical Association, the Latin American and Native American Medical Association, and the Ophthalmology Student Interest Group to present the program to first year medical students in these organizations. An introductory dinner is held to outline the program to interested students.
  • Mentorship: As of the 2019-2020 academic year, twenty-three University of Michigan medical students are participating in the program and receiving one-on-one mentorship from Kellogg Eye Center’s  ophthalmology residents.
  • Physical Exam Skills Night: Mentors teach students how to perform an eye examination.
  • Mentor-guided immersion: Students work with mentors in both the clinical and surgical setting. Mentees also have the opportunity to experience an on-call shift.
  • Surgical Simulation: Using a VRmagic Medical Simulator, students practice eye examination skills and learn introductory micro-surgical skills
  • Networking: In 2020, Mildred Olivier, MD, Assistant Dean for Diversity and Professor of Ophthalmology at Chicago Medical School (CMS) of Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science and John H. Strong, Jr. Hospital at Cook Country, will serve as our DEI Guest Lecturer. She will meet with Pathway mentors and mentees for dinner and give a DEI Lecture  at Grand Rounds. Future networking events will be offered on an annual basis.
    • Past DEI Guest Lecturers
      • 2018: Eve Higginbotham, SM, MD, Vice Dean for Diversity and Inclusion and Professor of Ophthalmology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania
      • 2019: Keith Carter, MD, FACS, Chairman and Head, Department of Ophthalmology; Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences

Related Activities

  • Health Equity Ophthalmology Summer Program
    Combined research and clinical funded opportunity for two students between their first and seconds years of medical school.
  • Minority Ophthalmology Mentoring (MOM) program
    This program is organized by the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology. Selected University of Michigan medical students  are awarded a stipend to participate in the Student Engagement Weekend held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
  • Health Equity Visiting Scholars 
    Office of Health Equity & Inclusion  program for visiting medical students.
  • Students National Medical Association (SiMfest)
    Participation in the Office of HealthEquity &Inclusion’s annual SiMfest to showcase Michigan Medicine’s innovative technology and commitment for URM recruitment.
  • Healthcare Disparities Journal Club

What Participants Say About the Program


  • The DEI Pathway program is a special experience for both student mentees and resident mentors. The beginning of medical school is daunting for medical students, but the program provides frequent, personal contact with a mentor who has recently been through the process and can provide the guidance and reassurance needed for early success. For residents, it's an opportunity to gain early experience as a physician-mentor and develop the skills necessary for a lifetime of teaching and leadership. - Philip Garza, MD, MSc
  • The mentorship program is so special because it matches 1st year medical students and 1st year ophthalmology residents who are both equally excited and scared about the new paths that they are embarking on.  The medical students are reassured by someone fresh from the process that “it all works out” and learn about an incredible field that there isn’t much exposure to in medical school.  The residents feel a sense of pride in seeing how far they’ve come since medical school, and feel a sense of warmth in helping someone else through the process that they remember as arduous.  Each side of the equation also gains a friend.  I’ve been so lucky to be a part of it. - Ryan Lange, MD, Resident
  • The DEI program is a wonderful initiative for first year medical students, especially those who come from traditionally underrepresented groups in medicine, to learn more about the field of ophthalmology. However, the program is so much more than just early exposure to ophthalmology - it fosters a longitudinal relationship between the Kellogg Eye Center residents and their medical student mentees, which is definitely mutually beneficial. I have had a fantastic experience thus far with my mentee both in the clinical and extracurricular settings, and I look forward to the years to come! - Sarah Michelson, MD, Resident
  • The DEI program has been an wonderful addition to my residency education. My mentees have been instrumental in developing my own teaching skills as I begin residency. - Megan Tuohy, MD, Resident

Medical Students

  • The DEI program has provided us first-year medical students with a truly unique opportunity to get early exposure in the fascinating field of ophthalmology. Being paired with resident mentors, we have been able to gain clinical experience through shadowing in various disciplines of the field, as well as hands-on experience through the surgical simulation night where we learned and practiced some basic ophthalmological surgical skills. These experiences have certainly been a highlight of my first year here at UMMS. - Jake Hirschl, Medical Student
  • This program has been a highlight of my first year. The residents and faculty have been tremendously welcoming and eager to show us the excitement in ophthalmology. - Gabrielle Lacy, Medical Student
  • The DEI program has been an amazing experience. It has given me the opportunity to network and connect with physicians, residents, and my fellow classmates who are interested in ophthalmology. Through my resident mentor, I have been able to view the many different specialties within ophthalmology and gain guidance on the steps necessary to enter the field. The program has definitely sparked my interest and passion to pursue a career in ophthalmology. - Tochukwu Ndukwe, Medical Student
  • The residents, faculty, and staff extended themselves to help me to feel welcomed and that I belonged. It was a great introduction to ophthalmology from people who really care. I really enjoyed the clinical skills night, shadowing my resident mentor, and interacting with ophthalmology patients in clinic. - Mason Shaner, Medical Student


Past and future funding for the Mentorship-led Pathway Program is provided by:

  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Innovation Grant, 2017-2018
  • Rackham Faculty Allies and Student Ally Diversity Grant, 2018-2019 & 2019-2020
  • Michigan Medicine Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Mini-Grant, 2018-2019

DEI Resources on Campus

Michigan Medicine

University of Michigan