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Ismanie Guillaume, Third-Year Medical Student, Selected to Participate in American Society of Hematology’s Minority Medical Student Award Program

 Ismanie GuillaumeCongratulations to Ismanie Guillaume, a third-year medical student at the George Washington University (GW) School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS), who was chosen as one of just 12 medical students to participate in the 2014 class of the American Society of Hematology’s (ASH) Minority Medical Student Award Program (MMSAP).

The career-development award program, which Guillaume started in May, was offered to first- and second-year medical students, and was designed to spark minority medical students’ interest in the field of hematology, and encouraged participants to develop and begin implementing hematology-related research projects.

“The MMSAP Program demonstrates ASH’s commitment to promoting diversity in hematology and the Society is proud to offer such a comprehensive, experiential learning opportunity to these students,” said ASH President Linda J. Burns, M.D., of the University of Minnesota. “Our hope is that, following this experience, these promising students will be inspired to pursue further research in hematology.”

Guillaume’s study focuses on the effects of admixture — the combination of two or more genetically distinct populations — on the  group of genes that was inherited from a single parent, specifically in individuals in the African American population who are prone to sickle cell mutation. In the research, Guillaume hopes to learn where this population’s sickle-cell mutation originated, and what other genes and mutations along the affected chromosome tend to come with it.

In answering some of these questions, Guillaume hopes to understand more about the mutation’s origin, which she says may help to understand how non-African ancestry might affect the manifestation of the disease, since African Americans are known to have an admixed population with Native American and European ancestry.

This summer, Guillaume laid the ground work for her research, and is looking forward to continuing her research.

After the difficulties of entering medical school after being out of school for several years, Guillaume says that being selected for the program was a confidence boost.

“Successfully completing this program and my first year of medical school let me know that I can achieve my goal of becoming a physician and that there are people who believe in me and will help me to get there,” she said. “I have a couple of great mentors who I hope to keep in contact with and came away with a great experience this summer.  For that, I am thankful and humbled.”