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NBC News Honors Christen Johnson During Black History Month

Posted By Cynthia Bell, Monday, February 13, 2017
 SNMA President Christen Johnson is being honored during Black History Month as a part of NBCBLK28 a series of article developed by NBC News to recognize the accomplishments of 28 African American innovators, vanguards, trendsetters and pioneers under 28 years old. According to NBC, "This year's crop is redefining what it means to be young, gifted and unapologetically Black. Make sure you check out Christen’s story on February 24th.

Christen described the being honored by NBC as "humbling and speechless,” and that the "honor is not only for me, but for SNMA.” Being President not only gives Christen a chance to change the way minorities look at medicine, but also as "[a] opportunity to inspire people.”

When asked what prompted her to go into the medical field, Christen recalls a story when she was younger and had an ear infection. She was treated by a black physician who let her play with the instruments. From that experience, Christen discovered that she didn’t chose medicine but "medicine chose her.”

To be a minority pursuing the medical field has always been intimidating for many people, and it often discourages them from pursuing the field. However, Christen described African American history as going "beyond the USA.” The "first doctors came from Africa” as slaves and were brought to treat various ailments. Therefore, the field of medicine is "in our blood.”

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What does SNMA mean to me?

Posted By Cynthia Bell, Thursday, March 5, 2015

One of my most poignant memories during medical school came one evening as I was studying for a neurology exam. By far one of the most challenging courses for me that semester, I had scored poorly on the midterm. In fact, I flat out failed. At that devastating moment in my academic career, I questioned my intelligence. Was I even smart enough to be in medical school?  Did I belong here? Had I made the wrong decision? What was I doing wrong? 

I had made a few mediocre grades in the past, but usually anything less than a solid B required reinforcements—study groups, tutors, whatever it took. As I sat at my table looking down at piles of notes, highlighters, diagrams and slides, I had no idea where to start and wanted to give up. 

Then I thought, if I quit what will I do about SNMA? I was the chapter president. I had to go to the annual conference, right? Yes, and no. As I sat there wallowing in self-pity, I gave myself a severe reality check. This journey was not about me. It was about all the giants on whose shoulders I was standing, about the sacrifices that my parents and grandparents made for me to be there. It was about all the people who were definitely smarter than me, but weren’t afforded the opportunity to attend medical school. It was about making a commitment to the students behind me, to be able to share my story of how to persevere when times get rough. It was about finishing the course so I could be the voice of the silenced and the ignored. 

I was SNMA. I am SNMA. So I, made a cup of coffee, picked up my highlighters and decided to pass the next test, and the next one, and the one after that. For me, SNMA reminded me of my purpose

I have wanted to be a doctor since I was little, seven to be exact. I dreamt of being the kind of doctor that took care of babies, which at the time I thought meant I would be a pediatrician. Who knew, instead I would find the road to obstetrics and gynecology. I am currently practicing with a hospital-based group near Norristown, PA and I have served as a Professional Board Member for SNMA for the past four years. I knew SNMA would be a significant part of my life as soon as I stepped into my first meeting. The leaders modeled the medical student and rising physician that I wanted to be. 

SNMA proved to be pivotal in all aspects of my training and I attempted to participate on all levels, local, regional and national. I served as chapter president, assistant regional director and on the national membership committee. We were greatly honored to host the regional conference at my home institution during my fourth year and I knew then it would only be a matter of time before I returned to serve the organization in a professional capacity. 

AMEC is just around the corner, April 1-5 in New Orleans. Don’t miss your opportunity to attend 2015 AMEC and stay active with SNMA. Sunday, March 8th is the deadline for online registration, so register today!!! To get the AMEC group discount rate at The Hyatt Regency Hotel in New Orleans, make your hotel reservation by March 6th. 


Look for upcoming “Grand Rounds” containing more information about member benefits, SNMA programs, alumni activities and much more. If you have an idea for “Grand Rounds,” email


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Tags:  #AMEC2015  #IheartSNMA  #SNMA  #UnsilencingtheUnheard 

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Johns Hopkins Features SNMA BASE Program in Magazine Cover Story

Posted By DaShawn A. Hickman, Friday, October 17, 2014

DaShawn A. Hickman - Region V Director and Regional Director to the Executive Committee of the SNMA B

The SNMA Chapter at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine is attracting attention. Highlighted recently in the university’s Dome magazine, the chapter is featured for its outstanding work through the Brotherhood Alliance for Science Education (BASE) program. Mentors, like Robert Wardlow who appeared in a photo on the magazine’s cover, work with young men, particularly those from nearby Paul Laurence Dunbar High School.

 Johns Hopkins recognizes that the SNMA and its programs, including BASE program have been instrumental in attracting minority students and boosting enrollment. In fact, the school has seen enrollment increase by 45 percent for minority first year medical students and 38 percent among all medical students since 2009. These shifts show that the SNMA is improving outcomes among underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities, such as African-Americans, blacks, Hispanic, Latino and Native Americans.

 The BASE program is devoted to encouraging minority men, while increasing the recruitment, admission and retention of young minority males in higher education and the medical fields. BASE strives to unite minority males around common goals and build relationships that foster a sense of brotherhood. The program focuses on mentorship, community service and empowerment, and motivation for worthwhile and attainable goals.

 Although BASE is geared towards young men and many of its mentors are men, the JHU chapter also has female mentors among its more than 100 members, like Nancy Abu-Bonsrah, who are dedicated to helping participants reach their goals.

 BASE is a part of SNMA’s Pipeline Programs that include Pre-medical Minority Enrichment and Development (PMED), Minority Association of Pre-medical Students (MAPS), Health Professions Recruitment Exposure (HPREP) and Youth Science Enrichment Program (YSEP).

 Look for upcoming “Grand Rounds” on other SNMA programs, AMEC 2015 in New Orleans preview and much more. If you have an idea for “Grand Rounds,” email:

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 Submitted by DaShawn A. Hickman, Region V Director and Regional Director to the Executive Committee of the SNMA Board of Directors

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