Fares Siddig entered college knowing he wanted to pursue a career in medicine, but he just didn’t know how to get there. Through mentorship from faculty and other students at the University of Michigan’s Flint and Ann Arbor campuses, the 2022 UM-Flint Health Sciences graduate has found both a path to follow and a passion to help others. other pre-med students to succeed.
As a result, he is currently celebrating two national achievements while also applying to medical schools to pursue a Masters in Public Health and Doctor of Medicine.
In September, Siddig will begin a year-long fellowship to conduct biomedical research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Eye Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, under the Intramural Research Training Fellowship Program of the NIH.
Siddig was also recently selected as one of 10 pre-med students nationwide to become a member of the National Future Leadership Project with the National Association of Medical Students. He plans to use the opportunity to expand leadership options for UM-Flint students through the Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students (MAPS) chapter he founded on the Flint campus. earlier this year.
These two accomplishments bring him one step closer to his dream of becoming a physician-researcher working in underserved communities and improving access to healthcare in his home country of Sudan.
“It’s an honor to work at the greatest research institute in the world,” Siddig said of winning the scholarship. “I will achieve a solid foundation in research methodology and better understand how research translates into patient care. It will also give me access to world-class mentorship alongside the world’s top scientists.”
Fares emigrated with his family from Sudan to Tall White early in his high school career and struggled to adjust to life in the United States. This struggle continued when he entered college. However, he quickly found clarity and his career path at UM-Flint.
“Science classes reinforced my love for the field,” Siddig said. “And a Global Health Services trip to Tanzania really sparked my passion for public health and opened my eyes to health disparities around the world.”
Siddig thanks Nicole Yambrick, UM-Flint II lecturer in biology, and Jill Slater, lecturer IV in biology, for pushing him to realize his potential and Suzanne Selig, professor emeritus of public health and health sciences, for the having inspired to become a better leader both on and off campus.
“I was grateful that I could change my grades and my life once I found the right plan,” Siddig said. “However, achieving success wasn’t just my job; it really took a village (upright) behind me. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support of my family, friends, mentors and my teachers.”
His experience in medical research with the Michigan Health Sciences Undergraduate Research Academy, a 10-week residential program in Ann Arbor, also helped him on his way to medical school. He received advice on how to improve his candidacy and was encouraged to start both a MAPS chapter on campus and a research project through Hurley Medical Center.
The MAPS chapter that Fares launched on campus in January started with just five students, but already has more than 50 members. The chapter provides leadership opportunities for pre-med students and also facilitates mentor-mentee relationships between UM-Flint students and UM-Ann Arbor medical students.
“Balance the workload of excelling in your coursework, finding research and clinical opportunities, volunteering, and being a leader so you can present your medical school admissions qualifications, while trying to have a life social, is a heavy burden,” Siddig said. “I recognize that not everyone has the same support system. For this reason, I have made it my business to mentor others who are pursuing a career in medicine and to move it forward. I lose nothing by sharing the knowledge I have and I gain everything from helping to steer others away from making the same mistakes I did.”
While at UM-Flint, Siddig was also a member of the Pre-Medical Club, African American Student Association, Muslim Student Association, and captain of the UM-Flint club football team, which he credits with providing him with a community at those times when he felt out of place.
Additionally, Siddig has taken advantage of numerous volunteer opportunities, including mentoring freshmen through UM-Flint’s Success Mentorship Program and assisting with COVID-19 vaccination clinics hosted by the Department of Health. Genesee County Health. He also recently began tutoring inmates at Flint County Jail through the IGNITE program.
“I am passionate about being at the forefront of innovation and science while improving the health of underserved communities,” said Siddig. “My education and experiences have ignited a fire within me to improve care for all patients by using research to inform best practices and ultimately be an agent of change.”