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Cedars-Sinai Establishes the Arthur Johnson, MD, Visiting Clerkship Scholarship

To increase diversity in Cedars-Sinai's training programs, the Graduate Medical Education Program recently established the Arthur Johnson, MD, Visiting Clerkship Scholarship. The scholarship provides an opportunity for underrepresented minorities in medical school to experience a rotation at the medical center.

"We want our resident and fellow population to reflect the diversity of our patients," said Mark Noah, MD, the Melvin Brody, MD, Chair in Medical Education. "In order to allow students to experience the wonderful educational opportunities we have here, we must first overcome the high cost of housing associated with spending a month training near the medical center."

To lower this hurdle, the Diversity Program Scholarship Selection Committee awarded eight inaugural award recipients, providing each with a $2,500 scholarship to help defray transportation and housing costs during their four-week rotations.

A total of 27 applications were submitted this first year. Noah hopes to increase that number significantly in the following years.

For fourth-year medical student Adam Wright-Chisem, the scholarship was a chance to focus on medicine, not money.

"My twin brother and I are both in medical school and come from a single mother," said Wright-Chisem, who is training in orthopaedics at the University of Illinois College of Medicine. "Receiving this scholarship removed that financial burden and allowed me to focus on my studies."

The experience, Wright-Chisem said, was "very intense, a lot of learning and fast-paced." But Wright said the intensity was accompanied by mentorship, support and encouragement.

"I live my life with purpose and want to work for a medical center that upholds this same philosophy," said Wright-Chisem. "Cedars-Sinai stood out to me because of this thoughtful scholarship, what it represents, and who it honors."

The scholarship was named after the late Arthur Johnson, MD, a board-certified specialist in Obstetrics and Gynecology who served on the Cedars-Sinai medical staff for more than three decades. He was the first physician in the history of Cedars-Sinai to hold all elected offices of the medical staff during his career, including two terms as Chief of Staff in 1998 and 1999.

"I had the privilege to work alongside Dr. Johnson for many years," said Noah. "He regularly hosted open houses for local medical students to get to know Cedars-Sinai, as well as numerous other activities throughout the year. He also had an acute understanding of our training programs, so it's an honor to carry on his professional legacy through this scholarship."

Getting to know Cedars-Sinai was Wright-Chisem's favorite part of his rotation at the hospital.

"What I appreciated most about this incredible opportunity was the network it provided and the people who facilitated it," said Wright-Chisem. "A week into my training, Cedars-Sinai already felt like home."