On November 30, 2023, the DEAR Council hosted Dr. R.J. Ledet, MD, PhD, MBA. and The 15 White Coats in a talk titled, “Representation & Resilience in Medicine.” Dr. Ledet discussed the challenges that he encountered during his journey to becoming a physician, from struggling to find clinical shadowing opportunities to the racism he encountered as the first Black Class President of Tulane University’s School of Medicine. Dr. Ledet stressed how having a strong support system allowed him to succeed. After a trip with his daughter to the Whitney Plantation, he co-founded The 15 White Coats to create a support system for those of similar backgrounds. Through the organization, he assists those from underrepresented communities in medicine and other professional schools to receive the support, mentorship, and academic resources necessary to achieve their career goals.

Dr. Ledet also discussed other community programs, such as the Resilient Readers Book Club, an initiative that seeks to create a book list with authors from marginalized communities. Through a partnership with Black Worldschoolers Mobile Bookstore, he has and hopes to continue to distribute literature to homes and schools to inspire the next generation of students. By sharing his personal experiences of discrimination and racism, the event allowed students to gain insight into the necessary changes to be addressed within the medical field. Going forward, the speaker encouraged students to talk with those from varying backgrounds as themselves. In doing so, Dr. Ledet hopes that students can learn about the challenges faced by different groups and help alleviate their struggles by working together.