URiM Students Enjoy Hotcakes on a Hot Summer’s Day

“Where’s Dr. Ilodi?” student after student was overheard asking upon arrival. 

As each walked through the garage ― which provided much-needed shade on the sunny day ― they wanted to first say hello to the gracious host who had invited them to her home for a welcome-to-NEOMED brunch. 

Guided by the scent of fresh maple syrup, students made their way inside to find Yoleetah Ilodi, M.D., preparing a wonderful array of hotcakes, sausages, biscuits and gravy, and other delightful treats with the help of her son (Dominic, NEOMED Class of 2038, joked Dr. Ilodi) and several students. 

Dr. Ilodi, the assistant dean of diversity in the College of Medicine, co-hosted the event  with Iris Mirelez, M.Ed., assistant director of student diversity at the College of Medicine, and Diamanta Panford, a Class of 2024 M.D. candidate and president of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA), who coordinated the event. Together, they greeted nearly 40 current and former URiM students at Dr. Ilodi’s home on Sunday to get to know and meet members of the first-year class.

Just the beginning

“With our largest URiM class ever ― 48 (out of 158) M1s to be exact ―we felt that it was important to let them know that the journey doesn’t end here. They are part of our NEOMED family and we are here as resources along the way,” Dr. Ilodi said,  brimming with joy. She also had invited University representatives: Andre Burton, J.D., vice president for Human Resources and Diversity, and Roderick L. Ingram, Sr., M.B.A., vice president for communications and chief marketing officer, served as ad-hoc greeters, while Victor Torres, M.A., director of global engagement, was the resident photographer.

In addition to meeting and engaging with classmates and alumni, students also enjoyed a few games of cornhole. They had planned to play volleyball. Unfortunately, the volleyball net wasn’t cooperating. But the food and music were plentiful, and the exceptional student experience that students have come to expect at NEOMED was on full display. 

“We appreciate student wellness, social engagement and education. Loving the whole person is just the beginning to creating transformational leaders,” added Dr. Ilodi. 

The Pulse received the following note written by Vissy Elad, who earned a master’s in modern anatomical science from NEOMED’s College of Graduate Studies in 2021. Now a first-year student in the College of Medicine, Elad also serves as vice president for the SNMA at NEOMED. She wrote:

I am so excited for this upcoming school year! As a MAS (‘21) grad, I had the opportunity to develop great personal and professional relationships with my classmates, given our small class size. But due to the pandemic, we were limited in some of our interactions especially at the beginning of the school year. As an M1 student, I’ve already had so many more opportunities to interact with my classmates in person. I had a great time at the URM Welcome Brunch and it was fantastic to see so many people come out to meet each other! 

I knew that there were more URM students coming into the College of Medicine this year than in previous years, but it still felt unreal to see so many people in attendance. I loved getting to know everybody a little bit better and I can’t wait for us to do something like that again. I think that my favorite thing about the whole event was being able to see that the URM community here at NEOMED is continuing to grow, and that we’re having fun with it.

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