LEAGUES Fellowship

Leadership Exposure for the Advancement of Gender and Underrepresented Minority Equity in Surgery


The LEAGUES Fellowship is a summer experience open to all medical students between their first and second years of matriculation in medical school. It aims to provide an early introduction to procedural specialties and their key role in advancing women and underrepresented minority clinicians in our country, surgical research with a focus on healthcare outcomes and policy, and trainee level advocacy for the medical rights of marginalized communities. The fellowship includes 3 positions available per year to complete a four-week immersive introduction to academic surgery. This program is the first of its kind and aims to become the premier model for academic surgery programs looking to create a pipeline of socially conscious and diverse surgical residents through early mentorship and recruitment interventions.

Goals & Objectives

Our goal is to foster the development of future surgeons with a belief in the importance of diversity, gender equality, inclusion, and health equity for patients, students, and professionals in academic surgery through exposure and mentorship while gaining research experience, surgical skills, professional development, and networking.

  • Mentorship: Each student will be assigned to a research mentor within our surgery department who will in turn oversee the participation of the student in a short-term research project. These ventures will be identified ahead of time for feasibility within the timeline of the fellowship.
  • Research & Academic Opportunities: The scholars will have an expected 40 hour per week commitment which should be largely dedicated to working on their selected project. Seminars will be hosted by Department of Surgery faculty, residents, and students and will cover topics on leadership, advocacy, career development, application strategies, and opportunities within academic surgery.

Lecture Series

LEAGUES gives fellows the opportunity to attend lectures presented by faculty members and trainees on a variety of topics related to academic surgery, ranging from discussions of advocacy, productivity, and mentorship. A selection of our 2020 lectures is available online for applicants to review, and we update our curriculum every year.


The LEAGUES Fellowship is open to any 1st year medical students enrolled in a U.S. medical school who have completed the first year of medical school having demonstrated interest in furthering the mission of our program as shown through their application.

Funding & Stipend

Funding for the LEAGUES fellowship is provided by the Michigan Medicine Department of Surgery. A $1,000 stipend will be awarded to each participant, and all materials and books required for participation in the program will be provided. Three (3) LEAGUES fellows are selected each cycle.

How to Apply

  • Basic Information:
    • Name, Preferred Name, Address, DOB, email
    • Pronouns, Race/Ethnicity
    • Undergraduate Education, Medical School, Program (MD, MD/MPH, MD/PhD, Other)
  • Short Essays:
    • Prompt 1: Describe the importance of diversity within a team of medical providers. How does this contribute to patient care? What about you and your experiences can contribute to a diverse team of providers to improve patient care? (Word Limit: 300 Words)
    • Prompt 2: Describe your interest in surgery. If you were selected to participate in this program, what would be your personal goals for the month? (Word Limit: 300 Words)
    • Prompt 3: Describe at least two research topics you are interested in exploring. While we cannot guarantee that you will be paired with a faculty mentor who is a perfect match, we will try to pair you with someone who can guide you in pursuing your interests to the best of our ability. (Word Limit: 300 Words)
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • One Letter of Recommendation: A letter of recommendation from an academic advisor or mentor is required to complete your application. When requesting this letter, try to select someone who knows you well and can tell us why you would be a good candidate for the program (undergraduate mentors, medical school advisors, and residents can also write letters).

Letters should be submitted via email to [email protected] by your recommender before the application deadline.

A committee composed of faculty and residents from the Michigan Medicine Department of Surgery will select participants based on academic achievement and leadership potential. Special notice will be given to applicants with a demonstrated commitment to advancement of minority affairs. Funding is provided by the Michigan Department of Surgery.

Contact Us

Vanessa Niba, MD & Crystal Taylor, MD

Program Directors, LEAGUES Fellowship