February 14, 2024

Celebrating Black History Month: Warrior M.D. spotlight on Black Medical Association President Kenneth Jackson

Kenneth Jackson is a medical student in the Class of 2027.

Kenneth Jackson is student in the Wayne State University School of Medicine’s Class of 2027. Jackson, a Detroit native, is president of the Black Medical Association and is involved in the Medical Research Elective. Outside of medical school, he is a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. The first-year medical student plans to pursue an Anesthesiology residency after graduation to specialize in pain management.

Question: Why did you choose Wayne State University for medical school?

Answer: I was born and raised on the east side of Detroit, and noticed how my elders were always untrusting of medical professionals. I believe some of this could be alleviated by increasing representation of Black health care leaders in Detroit. As a native Detroiter, I chose Wayne State University for medical school because I find it extremely important to give back to my community, and what better way to give back than to train in the city that made me! Having a strong clinical research background made me want a school that offered a plethora of opportunities to conduct medical research that can be beneficial to not only Detroit, but the entire medical community. Black men are grossly underrepresented in medicine, and I truly want to increase representation for my community. I hope that when young boys from the east side of Detroit see my picture that they are inspired to chase their dreams and continue to build our community!

Q: How has your involvement in the Black Medical Association and other affinity groups or events shaped your journey as a medical student/physician-in-training?

A: Being involved in BMA has allowed me to build a strong sense of community amongst my fellow classmates. Often the journey to medicine can be isolating. My time in the BMA has granted me access to a community here at Wayne. My involvement has also given me a platform to discuss racial injustice and medical mistreatment of Black people in Detroit. This is one way that I believe I have been able to increase representation in the medical field. When I put on my white coat and come to Wayne, community members see me. They don’t know where I am in my journey, they just know I am studying to become a physician. The notion alone is powerful, because there are so few Black men in medicine. I have truly enjoyed being an advocate for my community in this space.

Q: Is celebrating and recognizing Black History Month important to you, and if yes, why?

A: Celebrating Black History month is extremely important to me because it pays homage to all the ancestors who fought for me to have the freedoms I have today. During this month, I think of my grandmother, who was born to sharecroppers and denied the opportunity for a formal education. Due to the sacrifices that she and other community leaders made, I am now the first in my family to obtain a master’s degree and the first to pursue a medical degree. Celebrating those who came before me is important because I will never know where I am going if I don’t know where I came from.

To suggest a Wayne State University School of Medicine student to spotlight, email Andrea Westfall at gd5273@wayne.edu.

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