Class of 2023, Mayo Clinic School of Medicine

NMF Scholar Derrick Lewis didn’t always want to be a doctor. In college, he thought he’d become a physicist or a chemist. After graduation, he worked as an EMT, then a paramedic. Derrick loved being a frontline medical provider, but not necessarily because of the excitement or drama. What he found most fulfilling was the human connection he was able to make with patients. He had thought about becoming a doctor, but he wasn’t sure he had the strength to deal with such great responsibility, literally having people’s lives in his hands. His EMS patients’ kindness and humanity, even in the worst moments of their lives, and their trust in him inspired him and made him feel like he was capable of doing more.  

Starting med school was exciting, but also a big change. He had risen through the ranks to be a supervisor and trainer as a paramedic, but now he was just a beginner as a med student. But his drive to be a leader and a changemaker persisted. Derrick sees that there is so much to do to improve health equity, particularly for marginalized communities, and he’s determined to contribute wherever he can. He is a student leader, holding numerous positions in student groups devoted to health equity, supporting students of color, and addressing the healthcare needs of the underserved at Mayo, in the local community, and nationally. His “Black tax” is real, but he wouldn’t have it any other way. We are so proud of Derrick and can’t wait to see how much more he will achieve throughout his career as a clinician, researcher, med educator, advocate, and mentor!