Release Date: 
Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Aspiring surgeon shares insights about the Global Black Experience

Dia Camara

HFC student Dia Camara will present a lecture, “The Global Black Experience,” as part of the College’s Black History Month: Building for Eternity activities. This lecture – sponsored by the Black Males and QUEEN Focus Group (BMQFG), which is free and open to the public – will be held virtually Wednesday, Feb. 24, at noon.

The eldest of five siblings, Camara is a 2020 alumnus of the International Academy High School in Bloomfield Hills. He spoke about his decision to attend HFC.

“I was finishing my senior year in high school when the coronavirus pandemic hit. I wanted to feel comfortable and confident when enrolling in a college to get the college experience I wanted. People say HFC is a good college. I checked it out and wanted to go to HFC. I felt very comfortable with the academics. It also felt safer for me to take online classes at the College rather than go somewhere else,” said Camara, a Kalamazoo native who lives in Rochester.

Feeling connected to the HFC community

At HFC, Camara is a member of the BMQFG and the Henry Ford II Honors Program. HFC Learning Lab lead faculty/BMQFG co-advisor Chardin Claybourne informed Camara about BMQFG and invited him to join the student organization, which challenges and changes the prevailing narrative regarding Black academic success.

“Both Chardin and Dr. Kalvin Harvell have been a welcoming presence,” said Camara. “BMQFG has given me access to several scholarship opportunities and has truly made me feel connected to the HFC community, even with the current online platform, which has been hard. Yet I’m still able to feel that connection, that conviction. It’s been a great way to talk to people and connect with them, especially those in my community with whom I have a lot in common. I wish I was able to talk to them in person because I had meaningful discussions with many of them online. I look forward to the day when we can all see each other in person.”

Desire to attend U-M and Columbia

Once Camara earns his associate degree in biology from HFC, he plans to attend the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor via the College’s Transfer Bridges to the Humanities partnership with U-M. At U-M, Camara plans to major in philosophy. He also plans to attend medical school at Columbia University in New York City and aspires to become an oral/maxillofacial surgeon.

“I want to feel engaged,” said Camara. “I want to be there directly helping people. That gets the heart pumping. It’s an act of giving I enjoy. I have learned to stay calm during perilous situations, especially when you know what you’re doing. It’s very engaging to me, especially when there’s a positive outcome.” He added with a laugh: “I’m also not squeamish, which helps if you want to become a doctor.”

A global perspective on healthcare: Cuba, Doctors without Borders

His desire to become a physician was sparked while attending various summer camps at Oakland University in Rochester. Camara also had the chance to travel to Cuba during his high school days, which allowed him to see how the healthcare system works on a global scale.

“Not everyone has equal access to healthcare, including in the United States,” he said. “There’s so much I’d like to apply to the healthcare field and try to make things equitable, being a part of that change.”

Before going into private practice, Camara would like to spend time working for Doctors Without Borders, an international humanitarian medical organization founded in France in the 1970s that is best known for providing medical assistance in conflict zones around the globe. In 2019, Doctors Without Borders was active in 70 countries with more than 35,000 personnel – mostly doctors, nurses and other medical professionals, logistical experts, water and sanitation engineers, and administrators.

“Dia is an intelligent, thoughtful young man. He started attending BMQFG meetings during the Fall 2020 semester and has provided meaningful contributions to our discussions and activities,” said Claybourne. “I appreciate the energy he brings to BMQFG. He represented the College with class and professionalism as a facilitator during the recent event with Mr. Ime Archibong (Facebook’s director of New Product Experimentation). I have full faith and confidence in his ability to achieve his goals, and wholeheartedly support his efforts as a budding scholar and student leader.”

Dia Camara's presentation video is available below.

Dia Camara presents, "Historic Figures of the African Diaspora." Introduction by Dr. Kalvin DaRonne Harvell.