For one resident, being a surgeon is an opportunity to ‘fix’ people. For another, it’s a chance to develop long-term relationships with patients and nudge them onto healthier paths. And for a third, it’s helping people reconstruct their appearances after cancer. All three are young, smart and ambitious – that’s a given for any Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) surgical resident whos bested dozens, if not hundreds, of other applicants to win a spot in one of the integrated programs that accept one intern each year.
They’re also all black women, which makes them part of an even more select group. African-Americans represent between 2 and 10.2 percent of surgical residents, depending on the specialty, according to a January 2017 article in the Journal of Surgical Education.
At MUSC, medical doctors Avianne Bunnell, Kiandra Scott and Quiana Kern comprise more than 20 percent of the 2017-18 class in the three integrated surgery programs: vascular, plastic and cardiothoracic. Integrated surgery programs are five- to six-year programs that take residents directly from medical school, unlike traditional programs that require doctors to complete a five-year general surgery residency before training in a specialty.
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