Loyola Stritch welcomes Class of 2018, including 7 DREAMers

News Archive August 04, 2014

Loyola Stritch welcomes Class of 2018, including 7 DREAMers

Johana Mejias explains how her dream of becoming a physician can now be reached. 

Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine welcomed its Class of 2018 today – 160 new students who will spend the next four years working to achieve their dream of becoming physicians. Adding to this historic day was the presence of seven “DREAMers” in the class.

Today’s milestone came nearly two years after Loyola Stritch became the first medical school to amend its admissions policies to include qualified students who have received Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status and are legally recognized U.S. residents.

“Our social justice tradition called us to take a leadership role in offering educational opportunities to underserved groups, including qualified applicants with DACA status. We also believe that the mission to train a talented and diverse physician workforce should motivate other medical schools to do the same. The opportunities are now much greater than the barriers,” said Linda Brubaker, MD, MS, dean and chief diversity officer.

For Johana Mejias and six of her classmates, a once-locked door that stood between them and their dream of serving others as a physician has been opened. “Today, what was once just a dream starts to become a reality. I find myself as part of Loyola Stritch, a loving, professional and courageous institution that believed in my ability to one day become a successful practicing physician,” said Mejias.

The State of Illinois is facing a physician shortage in many communities. To help address this issue the Illinois Finance Authority created a DACA loan program modeled after public health service loans. This is available to the state’s seven medical and three dental schools and requires students who access the program to provide a year of service in a designated underserved area of Illinois for each year of the loan.

“It’s important to note that these are dedicated, highly qualified students who competed on a level playing field throughout the admissions process,” said Dr. Brubaker.

Brubaker personally thanked Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin and William Brandt, Jr., chair of the Illinois Finance Authority, who also were on hand today, for their support.

Stritch faculty joined other Stritch students in the first-day celebratory event with the DACA students on the Health Sciences Campus.

For more on the Stritch School of Medicine’s commitment to “DREAMers” and DACA status, visit stritch.LUC.edu/DACA.

To view images of the Loyola Stritch DREAMers press conference, please click here.

The Loyola University Chicago Health Sciences Division (HSD) advances interprofessional, multidisciplinary, and transformative education and research while promoting service to others through stewardship of scientific knowledge and preparation of tomorrow's leaders. The HSD is located on the Health Sciences Campus in Maywood, Illinois. It includes the Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing, the Stritch School of Medicine, the biomedical research programs of the Graduate School, and several other institutes and centers encouraging new research and interprofessional education opportunities across all of Loyola University Chicago. The faculty and staff of the HSD bring a wealth of knowledge, experience, and a strong commitment to seeing that Loyola's health sciences continue to excel and exceed the standard for academic and research excellence. For more on the HSD, visit LUC.edu/hsd.
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