African American students across North Texas got hands-on experience in what it takes to become a doctor.
The hope is to reverse an alarming trend of the falling number of African American men in medical school.
Like most parents, Brittany Drake reminds her sons they can be anything they want when they grow up.
But she also wants to show them firsthand what they can achieve, like becoming a doctor.
"I think it's good to see the representation, to see someone that looks like them who has gone through the career pathway, so that way, they know that it's very feasible. That it's very possible for them," Drake said.
They were among hundreds of students who attended the first ever "Black Men in White Coats" summit at UT Southwestern on Saturday.
It was a great learning experience for African American kids to better understand the science behind the career.
Kids took part in CPR training, demonstrations on how to make a splint, and anatomy exploration.
Founder of the summit, Dr. Dale Okorodudu, wants to inspire African American boys and girls starting at a young age.
And with the amount of people who attended, he did just that.
“You have to have a vision in life to keep you on track,” Dr. Okorodudu said.
A report in the Association of American Medical Colleges shows there was a reduction in the number of African American medical students across the country from 1978 to 2014.
There are many reasons why, such as students struggling with algebra and not getting the help they need.
Now, the community is working together to reverse the downward trend.
"So it's really about exposure. It's really about understanding the rigors of the science and not being scared of that, not hiding it from anyone, and then finally, it's really about that mentorship and support system for these students," said Mark Nivet. executive VP of institutional advancement for UT Southwester.
Parents were required to attend with elementary students, while many middle and high school students came with their schools.
Javen Delance comes from a family of medical school graduates, and would also like to go down that career path in order to give back to the community.
"Either psychology, or just going past that and being a neurologist, and like, studying the brain,” Delance said. “How it functions. How information is transferred through certain cells and everything."