A Florida State University College of Medicine program is the recipient of the 2021 Inspiring Programs in STEM Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.
The program — Undergraduate Science Students Together Reaching Instructional Diversity and Excellence (USSTRIDE) — is an extension of the College of Medicine’s pipeline outreach program (SSTRIDE), which identifies middle school and high school students with an aptitude for science and math and the potential to become a successful medical student and provides support services to steer them on their chosen path. It launched in 1993 to support Florida State’s Program In Medical Sciences, the forerunner to the College of Medicine.
“Our pipeline programs, including USSTRIDE, in place for over 20 years, contribute greatly to our success today,” said College of Medicine Dean John P. Fogarty. “It’s very nice to receive national recognition, and we would hope that others might see this success story and seek to emulate it.”
The Inspiring Programs in STEM Award honors colleges and universities that encourage and assist students from underrepresented groups to enter the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
“We know that many STEM programs are not always recognized for their success, dedication and mentorship for underrepresented students,” said Lenore Pearlstein, owner and publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. “We want to honor the schools and organizations that have created programs that inspire and encourage young people. We are proud to honor these programs as role models to other institutions of higher education and beyond.”
USSTRIDE students can volunteer in rural, minority or underserved communities, participate in leadership development activities and have access to tutoring and group studies geared to enhance their academic portfolios.
Nearly 10 percent of FSU College of Medicine alumni participated in USSTRIDE, which has helped the university develop one of the nation’s most diverse medical schools.
There are a multitude of success stories from the 146 doctors who have come through the program, including two of the newest inductees into the FSU Medical Alumni Hall of Fame — Jimmy Moss and Tanya Anim.
Moss’ childhood included periods of homelessness and working in a tire factory at 13, but he was introduced to USSTRIDE by Thesla Berne-Anderson, director of college and pre-college outreach at the College of Medicine.
“I utilized all the resources this organization extended to me to matriculate into FSU [College of Medicine] in 2006, two years after my transformative meeting with Ms. Anderson,” Moss said. “I went on to become a mentor and academic adviser in SSTRIDE, assisting countless students in their efforts to follow in my footsteps toward becoming a physician.”
After graduating from medical school with honors, Moss completed residencies in internal medicine and anesthesiology with the Mayo Clinic then moved to Massachusetts General Hospital, the teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School, for a fellowship in critical care. He is now a practicing intensivist, caring for critically ill patients.
“From homeless to Harvard, all because of USSTRIDE,” Moss said. “I am forever grateful for this organization, and I am truly excited and honored to be affiliated with its legacy.”
Rashad Sullivan joined USSTRIDE as an undergraduate at Florida A&M University, met his future wife in the program and she, too, went on to become a physician. Now, Rashad Sullivan is completing a fellowship with the Florida Orthopedic Institute in Tampa and Natalie Sullivan is a radiation oncologist with GenesisCare in Sarasota. Together, they continue to contribute to both the SSTRIDE and USSTRIDE programs through mentorship and support as physicians.
“If it weren’t for the USSTRIDE program we would not be where we are today, in our careers and in our marriage,” Rashad Sullivan said. “SSTRIDE and Ms. Anderson introduced us to each other and provided the foundation with which we were able to build our lives together as husband and wife as well as our careers in medicine.”