Summer Mentorship Program History

The Summer Mentorship Program (SMP) was founded in 1994 by the Faculty of Medicine and the Toronto District School Board, together with the Association for the Advancement of Blacks in the Health Sciences. The program was created to help address concerns about the under-representation of Black and Indigenous people within the health sciences. The key individuals who contributed significantly to establish the SMP were Dr. Miriam Rossi, Dr. Dominick Shelton, Diana Alli, Harold Braithwaite, Gerry Connelly, Dr. Kristine Whitehead, Fred Chan and Kelvin Andrews.

The SMP provides students with an experience that they cannot get in a traditional secondary school setting. In running the SMP, the Faculty of Medicine works with the faculties of Dentistry, Kinesiology and Physical Education, Nursing, Pharmacy, Public Health, Social Work, the Office of Indigenous Medical Education, First Nations House, Black Physicians Association of Ontario, several school boards in the Greater Toronto Area and Indigenous communities outside of Toronto. SMP is coordinated by the Faculty of Medicine's Office of Health Professions Student Affairs (OHPSA).

Over more than 25 years the SMP has had more than 1200 students complete the program — and many of those students have since entered professional faculties and health care professions. The SMP continues to create learning environments that are safe and equitable for Black and Indigenous students.  

The Summer Mentorship Program was an integral part of my development in high school and beyond. The program provided role models and unique experiences in various health science fields, along with support and guidance throughout my undergraduate years. I was also able to meet like-minded peers who aspired to have careers in health sciences as well. I not only aspire to continue in my career as a Medical Doctor, but I also have a goal to provide guidance for youth who wish to explore careers in medicine.

Dr. Jabari Jones, SMP Alumni 1997
Field/Specialty: Medical Doctor