University Hospitals and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine Host Black Men in White Coats Youth Summit Oct. 21-22, 2022

CLEVELAND—Students, parents, teachers, and education leaders attended Cleveland’s inaugural Black Men in White Coats (BMWC) Youth Summit, hosted by Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and University Hospitals on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 21-22, at Case Western Reserve’s Tinkham Veale University Center.

The event was an engaging and powerful time of mentorship, networking, and exposure to the medical profession intended to inspire an estimated 250 youth to consider careers in health care. BMWC Youth Summit brings students (non-gender specific) in grades 3 through 12, undergraduate students, and those supporting them, together with health care leaders from across Northeast Ohio.

“As we continue to experience the disproportionate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is extremely important for young Black and Brown youth in our communities to be able to realize their full potential and to be inspired by people who share a cultural connection,” said Blanton Tolbert, PhD, vice dean of diversity, equity and inclusive excellence at the Case Western Reserve School of Medicine. “The foundation of Black Men in White Coats is to instill within these youth a sense that they, too, can become physicians or health professionals by bringing role models within their orbits. I am honored that our institutions have partnered to host the BMWC Youth Summit for the City of Cleveland.”

The BMWC initiative was founded in 2013 by Dr. Dale Okorodudu in response to an Association of American Medical Colleges report highlighting the decreasing number of Black male applicants in medical school.

“Nationally, we are at a pivotal moment in health care as our workforces have been crippled in this post-pandemic era,” said Celina Cunanan, MSN, APRN-CNM, FACNM, chief diversity, equity, and belonging officer at University Hospitals. “For Cleveland, health care is our number-one industry, yet our clinician workforces don’t reflect the rich diversity of our communities that we serve. Thus, as health care leaders, educators, and employers, our efforts must be intentional to create pipelines for Black and Brown youth that will spark their interest in health care at an early age, and inspire them to consider careers as nurses, doctors, scientists, and advanced practice providers. UH is incredibly proud to partner with our friends at Case (Western Reserve) School of Medicine to bring the Black Men in White Coats Youth Summit to Cleveland for the very first time.”

The summit's agenda included opening remarks by Cleveland Health Director David Margolius, MD, who was joined by Cliff A. Megerian, MD, FACS, chief executive officer of University Hospitals.

Edward M. Barksdale Jr., MD, surgeon in chief at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital, delivered the keynote, “Making Opportunity of Adversity.”

“Building a Path Towards a Successful Career in Medicine and Health Care,” was moderated by Kendalle Cobb, MD, associate chief of staff at Cleveland Clinic. Gregory Hall, MD, medical director of the UH Cutler Center for Men, moderated “How to Raise a Doctor.” The day also included hands-on activities, informative sessions, and networking.

The weekend kicked off with a private movie screening of the “Black Men in White Coats” documentary that explores why only 5% of American doctors are Black men and what that means for society. The screening was followed by a panel discussion moderated by Monica Yepes-Rios, MD, assistant dean for diversity, equity and inclusion for Students at the Case Western Reserve School of Medicine.


About University Hospitals / Cleveland, Ohio

Founded in 1866, University Hospitals serves the needs of patients through an integrated network of more than 20 hospitals (including five joint ventures), more than 50 health centers and outpatient facilities, and over 200 physician offices in 16 counties throughout northern Ohio. The system’s flagship quaternary care, academic medical center, University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, is affiliated with Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Northeast Ohio Medical University, Oxford University and the Technion Israel Institute of Technology. The main campus also includes the UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital, ranked among the top children’s hospitals in the nation; UH MacDonald Women's Hospital, Ohio's only hospital for women; and UH Seidman Cancer Center, part of the NCI-designated Case Comprehensive Cancer Center. UH is home to some of the most prestigious clinical and research programs in the nation, with more than 3,000 active clinical trials and research studies underway. UH Cleveland Medical Center is perennially among the highest performers in national ranking surveys, including “America’s Best Hospitals” from U.S. News & World Report. UH is also home to 19 Clinical Care Delivery and Research Institutes. UH is one of the largest employers in Northeast Ohio with more than 30,000 employees. Follow UH on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. For more information, visit

About Case Western Reserve

Case Western Reserve University is one of the country's leading private research institutions. Located in Cleveland, we offer a unique combination of forward-thinking educational opportunities in an inspiring cultural setting. Our leading-edge faculty engage in teaching and research in a collaborative, hands-on environment. Our nationally recognized programs include arts and sciences, dental medicine, engineering, law, management, medicine, nursing and social work. About 5,800 undergraduate and 6,300 graduate students comprise our student body. Visit to see how Case Western Reserve thinks beyond the possible.