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Charles Drew Science Scholars program honors alumnus Dr. Eric Ayers

June 04, 2015

An undergraduate enrichment program that Wayne State University School of Medicine Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine Eric Ayers, M.D., F.A.A.P., F.A.C.P., credits for teaching him crucial skills that led him to a successful career honored the physician for his example as a program alumnus.

Dr. Ayers received the Charles Drew Science Scholars Alumni Award at the program’s 2015 Charles Drew Scholars Senior Recognition Dinner on April 30 in East Lansing, Mich.

He practices internal medicine and pediatrics at the Wayne State University Physician Group‘s General Medicine Ambulatory Practice in Detroit. He is also director of the School of Medicine’s Meds-Peds Program.

“I am honored to receive this award and acknowledgement from the Drew program. My educational experience through the Drew program helped me develop a strong mathematics background, along with developing and sharpening my problem-solving skills,” Dr. Ayers said. “My pathway to being a well-rounded physician in regard to problem-solving, communication and overall skill set development are grounded in the principles I learned as a Drew student.”

The Charles Drew Science Scholars program, a unit in the College of Natural Science at Michigan State University, was started in 1979 to assist in the development and education of minorities interested in science. It is named after Charles R. Drew, M.D., an African-American physician, researcher and pioneer in blood plasma preservation who contributed to the advancement of blood banking in the United States and discovered that separating plasma from whole blood greatly extended the storage time before use, resulting in mass distribution of plasma units to World War II victims. He died in 1950 at age 45 from injuries sustained in a car accident.

Dr. Ayers enrolled as a Drew student in the fall of 1980, and served as a tutor for the Drew program and a teaching assistant for the problem-solving class while at MSU. He received his undergraduate degree from the university in 1985. The 1989 WSU School of Medicine graduate has returned to lecture and serve as a keynote speaker since graduating, and also promotes the program’s endowment, along with Patricia Wilkerson-Uddyback, M.D., Class of 1991.

“Dr. Ayers, a former Drew Scholar, serves as an example for Drew Scholars as a result of his untiring efforts to improve the quality of life in his community through health care, opportunity and education,” said Jerry Caldwell, Ph.D., director of Charles Drew Science Scholars. “He has been a consistent supporter of Drew Scholars and a resource for the program's participants. Dr. Ayers is always willing and available to engage students interested in medicine and health care through informal mentoring and shadowing. In honor of his outstanding achievements and commitment to teaching, medicine and community service, the Drew Scholars program offered an expression of its appreciation.”

The Charles Drew Science Scholars program provides academic and social support for high-achieving students pursuing science and math degrees, including individuals interested in professional health and science careers in medicine, veterinary medicine, dentistry, research, pharmacology, optometry, physical therapy and public health.

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