Alena Analeigh Wicker, 13 years old, has been accepted into the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Heersink School of Medicine, making her the youngest Black person accepted into a U.S. medical school, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from Alabama, the District of Columbia, and Florida.
- Alabama: In May, Wicker was admitted to UAB's Heersink School of Medicine for 2024 through its Burroughs Wellcome Scholars Early Assurance Program, making her the youngest Black person ever accepted into a U.S. medical school. "What I want from health care is to really show these underrepresented communities that we can help, that we can find cures for these viruses," Wicker said. In addition, Wicker said she hopes to encourage her peers to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). A year and a half ago, Wicker founded an organization called the Brown STEM Girl, which provides opportunities to girls of color considering careers in STEM. Wicker said she created Brown STEM Girl to help girls like her "feel like they belong somewhere." According to the National Science Board, just 28% of the science and engineering workforce are women—and only around 5% are women of color. "We're showing the world that there's other girls out there that are just like me, and they deserve an opportunity and a chance," Wicker added. (Page, Washington Post, 7/20; Henderson, MedPage Today, 7/21)
- District of Columbia: In a 228-195 vote, the House on Thursday passed a bill to protect contraceptive access. Since Roe v. Wade was overturned last month, lawmakers have been drafting legislation in response to Justice Clarence Thomas' concurring opinion, urging the court to reconsider "all of this Court's substantive due process precedents," including those that guarantee access to birth control and marriage equality. The Right to Contraception Act, which was introduced by Rep. Kathy Manning (D-N.C.), focuses on ensuring access to birth control methods and protecting the health care providers that provide them. (Gonzalez, Axios, 7/21)
- Florida: HCA Florida Citrus Hospital last week named Hiram Jacob as its new COO. Jacob, who has over a decade of health care experience, most recently served as VP of operations at Los Robles Health System in Thousand Oaks, California. In addition, he previously served as assistant administrator at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center in Las Vegas. (Gooch, Becker's Hospital Review, 7/21)