Ray Hunter: A Medical Student Determined to Serve His Community

Ray Hunter participated in the 2022 Summer Pipeline Program at MSK.

Ray Hunter participated in the 2022 Summer Pipeline Program at MSK.

Ray Hunter’s grandfather used to tell him, “You can’t go to the doctor, you can’t trust them. They don’t treat those who look like us well.”

As a Black man, Ray knows his grandfather’s fear was real. It’s one of the primary reasons he decided to pursue a career in medicine.

“I want my community to be able to trust their doctors,” said Ray, a student at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in North Chicago.

The Summer Pipeline Program at MSK offered Ray the opportunity to work in the operating room with MSK anesthesiologist Jacob Jackson. Together they researched a new pain reducing procedure for people undergoing surgeries in the chest area, such as a mastectomy.

“Dr. Jackson created an environment of learning for me,” said Ray. “He was always asking what I knew and challenging me in a way that invited questions and curiosity rather than intimidation.”

For Ray, the Summer Pipeline Program offered another benefit: the opportunity to mentor a high school student from MSK’s Summer Exposure Program. He had been looking to start mentoring young men contemplating their futures.

Ray hopes more people of color will consider careers in cancer medicine and research.

“When your work force looks and talks like the community it serves, the health outcomes improve dramatically,” he said. “MSK has been very intentional about having its workforce look like the community it serves, and opportunities such as the Summer Pipeline Program can help continue to increase representation in this field.”

The application for the 2023 Summer Pipeline Program will open on December 19, 2022 at sam.mskcc.org.