A new event in Dallas on Saturday inspired and encouraged young African-Americans to pursue careers in medicine and biomedical sciences.
Black Men in White Coats was founded by Dr. Dale Okorodudu, the assistant professor of internal medicine in the department of pulmonary and critical care medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center.
"We wanted to actually have a place where the students could come meet other doctors and get mentorship," Okorodudu said.
Okorodudu recalled reading a report from the Association of American Medical Colleges in 2013 that found the number of black men applying and getting accepted into medical school was declining.
Currently, Okorodudu said, about 6 to 7 percent of all physicians are black.
More than 1,500 students came out for the free event at UT Southwestern's South Campus.
"I really thought it would be interesting to see the layout and path of becoming a doctor," said 9th grader Benjamin Guerrero, who would one day be interested in becoming a physician.
The students who attended the summit got to take part in hands-on activities, learning how to do everything from CPR to making a splint. They also sat in on lectures and heard from various doctors and medical students.
"I want them to feel inspired, and know that there are people here in the community that love them and are here to help them," Okorodudu said.
Okorodudu said he wants to make the Black Men in White Coats Youth Summit a yearly event.