TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Inside the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson, it's not uncommon to find a classroom full of women, but it hasn't always been this way.
"When women first come, it can be very daunting. It's not unusual that they may feel impostor syndrome, like they don't belong," said UA College of Medicine Tucson Associate Dean of Admissions, Tejal Parikh.
A historically male-dominated field often leads to these feelings. The University of Arizona is breaking that mold, encouraging more women to pursue careers in healthcare and supporting them along the way.
"Since 2018 more women are applying to medical school and matriculating into medical school. We've seen this locally too, here at the College of Medicine in Tucson," said Parikh.
Classes at the college are 50 to 55% representative of women.
"I love the initiatives our university is taking for diversity, be it women, minorities or non-traditional students. I think so often our picture of a physician is changing," said UA College of Medicine First-Year Student, Jessica Shinkle Williams.
A group of first-year students are all a part of the college's Women in Academic Medicine Program: a group of faculty and students that offer guidance, advice and support.
"I think for students, it's really important for them to see that what they aspire, as incoming students, is something that's achievable. There are people that have taken those paths and have actually done it," said UA College of Medicine Professor of Medical Imaging, Hina Arif-Tiwari.
The group met primarily virtually over the pandemic, but are now able to reunite again, some for the first time.
"It's been really great to see a lot of different types of mentors who are willing to help us," said UA College of Medicine First-Year Student, Madison Newman.
"I get inspired by them. You have access to all these physicians, who are willing to talk about the nitty gritty and the realities of working in medicine," said UA College of Medicine First-Year Student, Sparshee Naik.
Students said the program is allowing them to make connections to build a successful future.
"I need to know where I want to be is possible. The best thing for me is just to talk to other people who have been though what I want to go through," said UA College of Medicine First-Year Student, Jasmine Lock.
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