Amber Mathus was recently accepted into University of South Alabama's (USA) Diversity Recruitment and Enrichment for Admission in Medicine (DREAM) Program.

amber mathus photo

Amber Mathus
Hometown: Pleasant Grove, AL
Major: Biological Sciences
Minor: Chemistry

The program’s goal is to "introduce, expose, and encourage marginalized and underrepresented students to consider careers in medicine." The program consists of an eight-week program for rising undergraduate seniors that focus on preparation for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). Students who successfully complete the program will be offered a position in the University of South Alabama College of Medicine first-year class following completion of their undergraduate degree.

Amber is planning to practice Family Medicine. She was born in Selma, AL where her mom worked as a nurse in the only hospital in the area. As a child, Amber was frequently in the hospital for chronic asthma. She says that sparked her interest to go into the medical field.

"Eventually, my family had to relocate to Birmingham due to the lack of medical attention in Selma. Even though my father had passed away from cancer years before, it wasn't until ninth grade that I decided to become a doctor when I had to care for my mother who was diagnosed with breast cancer. That experience opened my eyes to patient care and how we initially lacked that in my hometown. I realize how important it is to provide adequate care, in addition, to representing minority groups to correct the biases and prejudices of health care. Everything I have been through drives me to become a family physician to provide that sense of representation and community. I feel like this specialty is perfect to help fulfill my purpose in the treatment and prevention of underserved areas in need of medical attention and quality care. I want to serve as an advocate to dispel discriminations of disease, condition, income, insurance, race, gender, and ethnicity from healthcare."

The DREAM Program is specifically designed for "students who identify as being part of a group that is underrepresented in medicine and/or disadvantaged." Amber shares the following advice with others just starting their journey:

"Achieve your own version of success. In life, it seems like a competitive race to the finish line, but that's incorrect. We are all in our own race, on our own track competing with ourselves. The only person that can stop you from running your race is you! As a first generation college student, and being a part of a group that is underrepresented in medicine, it required me to step out on faith without the proper finances, resources, or role models. Through the face of adversity and disadvantages, it makes us strong enough to endure what the future holds. Our future holds purpose, so every morning remember why you are doing this in the first place. If you don't do it, who will?"

Amber shares that she is particularly grateful for the guidance of Brooke Sheetz, her Pre-Professional Advisor: "She always pushes me to break barriers to be the best student I can be." She also notes that while difficult, she appreciates the skills she learns that are required to pass courses because she will "graduate with the competence of learning and studying for professional school."