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PrIMES (Program for Individualized Mentorship Education Solutions)

The mission of PrIMES is to reduce the healthcare education diversity gap through a targeted mentorship program between current and prospective URiM (Underrepresented Minorities in Medicine) medical students. PrIMES was co-founded in 2018 by:

Dr. Caitlin Hoffman, MD, Attending Neurosurgeon at Weill Cornell Medicine and New York Presbyterian Hospital and the Department of Neurosurgery Diversity Champion;
Benjamin Hartley, MD, MS, Neurosurgery Resident at Weill Cornell Medicine and New York Presbyterian Hospital and Teach for America 2009 Corps Member; and
Cristina Londono, BS, a third-year medical student at Weill Cornell Medical College pursuing Area-of-Concentration in Health Disparities with the PrIMES program.

The current Program Manager is Annaclaire Brodnick, BS, a recent graduate of St. George’s University School of Medicine, Cornell University 2013, and Teach for America 2013 Corps Member. She can be reached at

Ethnic and racial diversity in medical school student bodies is essential to solving the health care disparity crisis in the United States.  Despite the national imperative to increase participation of under-represented groups in medicine (URiM), students from disenfranchised demographics make up a small fraction of medical school graduates. Only 6% of graduates in 2015 were Black or African American, and 5% were Hispanic/LatinX; in 1974, these figures were almost identical.

To tackle this issue, we created PrIMES (Program for Individualized Mentorship Education Solutions), a longitudinal, targeted, near-peer mentorship system, designed by cross-referencing American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) benchmarks with quantitative analyses of focus groups involving URiM students. The program pairs college students from underrepresented demographics who are interested in medicine with current medical students. Together, the duos progress through a comprehensive curriculum, using novel tracking tools to assess and record mastery of targeted objectives along the way.

Though only in a pilot iteration, the first cohort has already made significant improvements in their readiness for successful medical school application and matriculation. Going forward, we hope to expand the program nationally to peer institutions, such that all students can have equal opportunity to pursue a medical education, regardless of their racial or ethnic background. For more information, please contact


Neurological Surgery 525 E. 68th St., Starr 651, Box 99 New York, NY 10065