BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Sencere Trust Jones became interested in medicine when he was very young. “My mom got me these encyclopedias where I could look at human biology and anatomy, and that’s when I got interested in the reproductive system,” the Buffalo State College freshman recalled.
He also witnessed what his mother went through while having his two younger brothers, which has inspired him to go into the medical field. “I would always see how painful it was for her, and how the doctors didn’t really listen to her when certain things were going on,” Jones added.
He started researching and found that studies have concluded that Black Americans are systematically undertreated for pain relative to white Americans. “That’s where my interest really began to intertwine social justice and medicine,” Jones said. “If more doctors of color are in the medical industry, then there will be less prejudice.”
Jones wrote about his ambition to become an OB-GYN to help address racial disparity in American healthcare in his essay applying for Buff State’s George Floyd Memorial scholarship. He is the first recipient of the scholarship.
George Floyd was killed by police in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020. The $10,000 award was established in June, shortly after Floyd’s memorial at North Central University in Minneapolis, when the university president announced a scholarship in Floyd’s name and challenged other universities across the U.S. to do the same.
“Social justice and equality is something that is part of our DNA,” Buffalo State President Dr. Katherine Conway-Turner said. “So, we very quickly put this together and we opened up the scholarship opportunity.
In just a month, 30 students applied for the scholarship.
Jones was told he had been awarded the scholarship during what he thought would be a Zoom call with some faculty mentors from his high school- but Conway-Turner was also on the call, and shared the news with him.
“I was very impressed with him, and the work he hopes to do in the future, Conway-Turner said. “We were very much taken by his understanding of being part of this solution, and how he sees inequities in healthcare.”
Jones, a member of the college honors program, said that being the scholarship’s first recipient is an honor.
“I feel like this opportunity is not only going to help me, but it’s going to help students who become George Floyd scholars after me,” Jones said. “It’s creating a positive legacy for something that was so ugly.”