Third-year medical student Martavius Lovall devoted a lot of time and energy to Baylor’s involvement in this summer’s Pride Festival and Parade in downtown Houston, and there was one particular moment that filled him with, well, pride.
“It was an incredible experience to be in the parade, carrying the Baylor College of Medicine banner. Thousands of people who were downtown got to see that Baylor supports the LGBTQ community,” said Lovall, who serves as president of the student-organized BCM Pride group. “I was excited and proud of the community here at Baylor.”
In addition to the evening parade, the daytime festival offers the opportunity for local organizations to provide information to the community. Baylor volunteers were on hand with information about healthcare services through the Baylor Teen Health Clinic and as well as educational opportunities at the College.
It’s important for Baylor to be visible so that people in the LGBTQ community can learn about services and other resources that are available to them, and also so that they can find mentors and a community to share their experience, Lovall said. He understands this firsthand.
Coming from a small town in Louisiana, Lovall said he had few mentors in the LGBTQ community, or mentors who had pursued his same career path. When he arrived at Baylor, he immediately sought out a group to be a part of. “A lot of people think that coming out is a onetime thing, but it’s really a repeated process that you do each time you move, or in other new situations. Pride was important to me and can be for others, too, so you at least have a group you can feel comfortable with and people you can talk to.”
Over time, Lovall started to take on a leadership role in BCM Pride, and he saw an opportunity for the College to have a greater presence at the Pride Festival and Parade. He even worked with other students in the group to develop Baylor Pride T-shirts, and sold about three times as many as expected. Other initiatives of BCM Pride include co-sponsoring Baylor’s first Advocacy Engagement Day, which is an event designed to increase student participation in advocacy.
At Baylor, Lovall also serves on the planning committee for the Building the Next Generation of Academic Physicians regional career development conference at Baylor, an event that helps promote underrepresented minorities in medicine to consider careers in academic medicine. In his medical studies and rotations, Lovall has been particularly drawn to pediatrics and neurology, but he’s not sure yet what specialty he hopes to pursue in residency.
Lovall, who majored in neuroscience as an undergraduate at Tulane University in New Orleans, said he had known since he was young that he wanted to attend medical school. He learned about and qualified for a free application process for people who meet certain income requirements, which opened up possibilities on where he might apply, including Baylor.
“It has always been my dream to go to medical school. When I had the opportunity to attend Baylor, there really wasn’t much of a choice. I knew it was where I wanted to be.”