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Children's Mercy Underrepresented in Medicine Elective

Mercy + ME provides financial and mentoring opportunities to students who are underrepresented in medicine

The Children’s Mercy Underrepresented in Medicine Elective program (Mercy + ME) provides qualified fourth-year medical students who have historically been underrepresented in medicine (UIM) an opportunity to experience the outstanding Pediatric training that Children’s Mercy provides. This unique program was designed by the Children’s Mercy Faculty and Trainee Equity, Diversity and Inclusion committee with the overarching goal of increasing exposure of UIM medical students to clinical and research opportunities in academic medicine in addition to encouraging students from diverse backgrounds to apply to the Children’s Mercy Pediatric Residency Program.

Program description

Selected applicants will spend four weeks rotating on with Pediatric subspecialty services based on availability.

Recommended electives include:

  • Allergy/Immunology
  • Child Neurology
  • Developmental and Behavioral Medicine
  • Foster Care Clinic
  • Pediatric Cardiology
  • Pediatric Emergency Medicine
  • Pediatric Gastroenterology
  • Pediatric Hematology/Oncology
  • Pediatric Infectious Diseases
  • Pediatric Nephrology
  • Pediatric Rheumatology
  • Pediatric Pulmonology
  • Pediatric Rehabilitation
  • Pediatric Orthopedic Surgery
  • Sports Medicine

Rotations will also include one ½ day per week dedicated to unique clinical and research experiences with current Children’s Mercy faculty. Applicants will have the opportunity to provide care to a racially and ethnically diverse patient population with exposure to a wide spectrum of pediatric diagnoses while working closely with trainees and faculty. Participants will be expected to attend all scheduled educational conferences including (but not limited to) morning report, noon conferences, grand rounds and teaching sessions.

Mentoring and networking

Participants will meet with UIM faculty at Children’s Mercy throughout the rotation as well as current UIM pediatric residents and members of the University of Missouri Kansas City (UMKC) Student National Medical Association (SNMA). Frances Turcotte-Benedict, MD, MPH (Medical Director of GME Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) will serve as the physician contact for applicants throughout the pediatric rotation. Students will also have the opportunity to meet with the Pediatric Residency Program Director. Caroline Tougas, MD is the physician contact for participants rotating with Pediatric Orthopedics.

Financial assistance

Selected participants will be awarded up to $2,100 for reimbursement of travel, lodging, meals and applications fees.


Current full-time fourth-year medical students identified as UIM, who are in good standing at accredited U.S. medical schools are eligible to apply. For the purposes of this elective, the following racial and ethnic groups are identified as UIM:

  • American Indian/native Alaskan

  • Black or African American

  • Hispanic/Latino

  • Native Hawaiian/Pacific islander

  • UIM Asian Populations (e.g. Cambodian, Filipino, Indonesian, Vietnamese)*

    *Some Asian populations (Asian Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai) are NOT considered UIM.


We accept applications on a rolling basis. We encourage applicants to apply early to receive their top elective choices. Our final rolling application deadline on the Mercy + ME website is the end of May each year.  

Selected applicants will be notified within 2 weeks of receipt of your application.

All applicants must complete an application form through American Association of Medical Colleges’ Visiting Student Learning Opportunities (VSLO) for their pediatric elective of interest (excluding acting internships).

In addition, the following required documents must be emailed to Dr. Frances Turcotte Benedict, the Mercy + ME Program Director,

Applicants will receive a confirmation email once all materials have been received and VSLO application is complete. 

Those applicants not selected for the funded rotation are strongly encouraged to apply for unfunded acting internships and electives at Children’s Mercy.