Skip to main content

AIMS Mentorship in Action

January 28, 2022
Anna and Cambray during a study/work/research session at Jordan Lake

Back when Cambray (’28) was an undergraduate student at NC State, she became interested in MD-PhD programs. However, she wasn’t sure if these would be the right fit for her, both because of the long training commitment and due to her interest in research areas that did not seem to be well-represented in MD-PhD training programs. After searching the internet for help and discovering AIMS, she was matched with multiple UNC mentors, including Anna Kahkoska, MD, PhD (’21) who graduated from the UNC MD/PhD Program and is now an Assistant Professor in the UNC Department of Nutrition.
“Anna has been a huge source of encouragement for multiple years of my life, and I am so proud to be a member of the same program as her,” Cambray says. The two had regular phone calls, met up for meals in the Triangle, and discussed ways for Cambray to determine whether this was the right career path for her. Anna also helped Cambray seek out research positions for gap years and reviewed application materials for those opportunities. As undergraduate students, they had both participated in the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center Summer Undergraduate Research Program, which was another point of connection for the two.

Cambray Smith – UNC MD-PhD Class of 2028

“Seeing Anna work towards her PhD in the Gillings School of Global Public Health expanded my understanding of what students could do in an MD-PhD program. I also had many concerns about what it would be like to spend 8 years earning these degrees, and Anna convinced me that students are able to have a great quality of life while completing this rigorous journey.”
For Anna, the process of getting to know Cambray was a highlight of her own training in the MD-PhD program. “From the first time I met her, Cambray was so bright, full of ideas, and genuinely interested in so many things.  It was hard not to find her energy contagious. The opportunity to be a resource and a sounding board for her as she explored what might be the right decision, and now a classmate and a good friend, has been full of so much joy.”

Anna Kahksoka, MD, PhD – UNC MD-PhD Class of 2021

In her first year as faculty at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, Anna is leading a pilot study using group model building, a participatory method from the field of systems science, to explore the challenges and experiences that older adults with type 1 diabetes have surrounding the use of continuous glucose monitoring as part of their diabetes management. Cambray has been working as a Research Assistant and colleague on the project, and the two have greatly enjoyed the opportunity to work together on both data collection and analysis. “It feels like all of our conversations are coming full circle. As I get ready to start my PhD in fall 2022 in the UNC Department of Health Policy and Management, I’m confident that Anna will continue to be both a formal and informal mentor during my time at UNC and beyond.”
Cambray is currently involved with the AIMS Research Diversity team and looks forward to mentoring future MD-PhD students. Anna graduated from the UNC MD/PhD Program in May 2021. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Nutrition at UNC and a  Scholar in the North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences Institute Gene Orringer Junior Faculty Career Development (KL2) Program.

Advocates for Inclusion in Medicine and Science Symposium

September 9, 2020


Advocates for Inclusion in Medicine and Science Symposium serving as the APSA South-Atlantic Meeting

We are excited to announce that UNC Advocates for Inclusion in Medicine and Science (AIMS) is partnering with the American Physician Scientists Association to present the virtual annual symposium that brings together students who are interested in or currently pursuing a degree in medicine and/or science. Reflecting the advocacy in AIMS’s mission, the theme of this year’s virtual symposium focuses on advocacy: advocacy for patients, advocacy for peers, and advocacy for ourselves. The symposium will feature keynote speakers, including Dr. Lisa Carey and Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, as well as panels and workshops that work towards students’ professional development. Proceeds from this year’s symposium will go to White Coats Black Doctors Foundation, a non-profit organization that aims to increase diversity in the medical field by supporting the development of future Black physicians. We welcome undergraduates, medical students, graduate students, dual-degree students, and residents to join us!


Keynote Speakers

Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, PhD

Scientific Lead, Coronavirus Vaccines & Immunopathogenesis Team,

National Institutes Of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases


Dr. Lisa Carey, MD

Division Chief of Hematology-Oncology, Physician-in-Chief of NC Cancer Hospital

L. Richardson and Marilyn Jacobs Preyer Distinguished Professor for Breast Cancer Research, UNC


Symposium Agenda

Friday, October 23
6 pm – 9 pm EST: Evening networking, poster presentations, and live virtual oral presentations.


Saturday, October 24
10 – 12 am EST: Keynote presenters
12 – 1 pm EST: Lunch break

Concurrent Session 1: 1 – 2 pm EST
Research in Residency Panel
Applying to MD-PhD Programs Panel

Concurrent Session 2: 2 – 3 pm EST
Minimizing Disparities and Increasing Access to Healthcare with Dr. Erin Kent
Mentorship: how to find the right mentor and how to be a good mentor with Dr. Adrienne Cox

Concurrent Session 3: 3 – 5 pm EST
Peak Performance Module with Dr. Sarah Smithson
LGBTQ+ Allyship with Dr. April Callis

5 – 6 pm EST: Practical Mindfulness and Symposium Conclusion


To register, please click here. Registration is $3, and all proceeds will go to support White Coats Black Doctors Foundation. Abstracts are closed, but you can register up until the first day of the conference!


For questions, please contact Alison Mercer-Smith ( or Rashmi Kumar ( We hope to see you (virtually) there!

Cancer Med Society Panel

October 30, 2019

The Cancer Med Society at UNC invited our MD-PhD program for an information panel regarding the physician-scientist training process. Dr. Mohanish Deshmukh (Co-Director of UNC MSTP) started the conversation describing our program and rounded out the discussion with a Q&A session with 3 of our very own AIMS Leaders who are all cancer researchers: Alison Mercer-Smith, Rashmi Kumar, and Kevin Field. This is the inaugural year of the Cancer Med Society, advised by Dr. Al Baldwin (UNC Lineberger). AIMS was thrilled to be part of this special event and for the opportunity to continue our efforts in undergraduate outreach and education on MD-PhD training!

AIMS and UNC undergraduate Cancer Med Society

Spring 2019 Outreach

May 6, 2019

Thanks to everyone who helped out with this year’s Triangle Diversity and Inclusivity in the Medical Sciences networking event held in conjunction with Duke and UNC’s Introduction to MD/PhD Training with Meredith College.  We had an introduction to MD/PhD programs, a campus tour, one-on-one CV/resume/personal statement review, and a presentation on UNC Training Initiatives in Biomedical and Biological Sciences (TIBBS).

Medicine and research meeting at UNC with students from Meredith College March 29, 2019.

American Physician Scientist Association Event

March 28, 2019

Hello everyone,

The American Physician Scientist Association in conjunction Duke and UNC Medical Scientist Training Programs are proud to bring you the Triangle Diversity and Inclusivity in the Medical Sciences networking event. With this event we hope to promote networking opportunities between undergraduate students and current trainees, provide information about our training pathway, and introduce the benefits of a career in the medical sciences.

The event will take place at Duke’s Trent-Semans Center for Health Education this Saturday, March 30, from 6-8pm.

We are passionate about what we do and would love to share this passion with all interested students. If you would like to come, have dinner, and talk about the many opportunities that a physician scientist career can offer, please RSVP at We look forward to meeting you!


Medicine and Research at UNC: An Introduction to MD/PhD Training

March 28, 2019

Hi everyone,

We are very excited to announce that we will be hosting a group of 15 students from Meredith College (in Raleigh). The agenda for the day’s events can be found below.  Please join us between 5-6pm at 2035 Bondurant on Friday, when we will be having a social hour with the students. Food will be provided!



  • 2:00-2:50pm – Introductions
    • Welcome by Alison Regan, Assistant Director, UNC MD/PhD program
    • Introduction to MD/PhD programs, Loren Oh
    • Introduction to MED
  • 2:50-3:00pm – Break
  • 3:00-4:00pm – Campus Tour and CV/Resume/Personal Statement review; switch at 3:30pm
  • 4:00-5:00pm – Presentation by UNC Training Initiatives in Biomedical & Biological Sciences (TIBBS)
    • Dr. Rebekah Layton, TIBBS Director
    • Dr. Jessica Harrell, Director of Pre-Doctoral Student Development and Support
  • 5:00-6:00pm – Social Hour

AIMS/Carolina Genetics @ UNC Science Expo 2019

March 6, 2019

AIMS will be co-sponsoring a booth at the 2019 UNC Science Expo with the Carolina Genetics interest group (co-led by our very own Yasemin Cole).


When: Saturday, April 6th from 11am-4pm

What: Outreach activities with kids and North Carolinians!

How can I help?!

I realize this is the same weekend as the AAWSM regional symposium, but if you aren’t able to go we’d love your help volunteering at this event!

Sign-up in hour-long shifts here


More details:

AIMS will be educating booth visitors about diverse scientists and their accomplishments through a matching card game (look for an event coming soon to help craft these cards!).


Carolina Genetics will be organizing some hands-on DNA activities:

AIMS Mentor Social

March 5, 2019

Good afternoon everyone!


Next month we will be having our Spring Mentor Social on Thursday, April 25th. It will be a good chance to come and chat with the AIMS faculty mentors about their research, their careers, and ask any questions you might have! These mentors have volunteered their time and are excited to speak with you guys! Please see below for details. There will be food – Potluck sign-up link below!


UNC AIMS Spring Mentor Social 2019

Date: Thursday, April 25, 2019

Time: 6:30 – 8:30 pm


Mentors who will be attending:

Dr. Toni Darville (MD – Pediatrics, ID)

Dr. Susan Henning (PhD – GI, Cell Biology)

Dr. Ayse Belger (PhD – Psych, Imaging)

Dr. Lynn Fordham (MD – Peds Radiology)


Sign Up HERE.


Fall Social with AM-WISE and WiNS

September 4, 2018

Thank you to everyone who joined us for our first co-sponsored social event of the year! AIMS teamed up with WiNS (Women in Science) and AM-WISE (Advocates for Minorities and Women in Science and Engineering) to host a fall mixer at Top of the Hill!


When: October 3rd (Wednesday) 5:30 p.m. onwards 

Where: TOPO, Chapel Hill


There will be free appetizers for all!

Poster: Wins_FallMixer_2018_v2

Dr. Carmen Williams Event

August 20, 2018

A big thank you to Dr. Carmen Williams, MD, PhD, the Deputy Chief of Reproductive and Developmental Biology at NIEHS, who came to campus to lead small group sessions and plenary talks.

2 pm: Picking a mentor and making the most out of PhD training in 132 MacNider

3 pm: Choosing a residency/post-doc and setting up your lab in 132 MacNider

4 pm: Plenary talk in Bondurant G030

AIMS Carmen Williams 082218