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UC Irvine School of Medicine student joins LA Chargers for NFL Diversity in Sports Medicine Pipeline Initiative

Posted: 2024-07-02

Source: UCI School of Medicine
News Type: 

Michael Baham, fourth-year student at UC Irvine School of Medicine and scholar with Programs in Medical Education Leadership Education to Advance Diversity - African, Black and Caribbean (PRIME LEAD-ABC).

Irvine, Calif., July 2, 2024  The National Football League, together with the NFL Physicians Society (NFLPS) and the Professional Football Athletic Trainers Society (PFATS), recently announced the roster of medical students who will participate in the third year of the NFL Diversity in Sports Medicine Pipeline Initiative. Launched in 2022, the league-wide program aims to increase and diversify the pipeline of students interested in pursuing careers in sports medicine and, over time, help to diversify NFL club medical staffs.

Michael Baham, a fourth-year medical student at the UC Irvine School of Medicine and a scholar in the Programs in Medical Education Leadership Education to Advance Diversity - African, Black and Caribbean (PRIME LEAD-ABC), was chosen to join the LA Chargers pipeline initiative. 

“Words cannot express how thankful I am to participate in the NFL Diversity in Sports Medicine Pipeline Initiative," said Baham. "As a lifelong NFL fan and an aspiring primary care sports medicine physician, it is a dream come true to learn from the multidisciplinary medical teams that provide unparalleled and innovative care to the nation’s top athletes."

Students from 21 medical schools have been matched with NFL clubs across the league for one-month clinical rotations focused on primary care sports medicine and/or orthopedic surgery. The rotations provide students with the opportunity to learn from and work directly with club medical staff as they deliver care to players across the league. Student clinical rotations will begin as training camps open for the 2024 NFL season next month.

"I look forward to expanding my clinical knowledge on and off the field, and I am excited to be a part of the NFL’s commitment to diversifying the field of medicine," said Baham. 

Baham was born and raised in Los Angeles and after high school attended the University of San Francisco, where he received a bachelor's degree in kinesiology, intertwining his love for sports and science. He then attended the UCI Pre-Medical Post-Bacc Program for two years while also serving as a before- and after-school teacher with the YMCA. Before starting medical school he also worked as a clinical research associate in concussion research at UCLA.

“The NFL and clubs across the league are excited to welcome this year’s class of medical students and offer them the unique opportunity to complete clinical rotations with NFL club medical staffs,” said Dr. Allen Sills, NFL Chief Medical Officer. “We have an impressive group of participants joining us from a growing roster of medical schools this season as we continue our efforts to bring interested diverse and underrepresented medical students into the sports medicine professional pipeline.”

During their one-month rotations, students will observe and participate in the care of NFL players, working directly with and under the supervision of the orthopedic team physicians, primary care team physicians, athletic trainers, dietitians, mental health clinicians, strength & conditioning coaches, equipment managers, and others to gain medical knowledge and exposure to patient care in sports medicine. Students will also become familiar with return-to-play protocols and on-field treatment considerations for NFL players. By the end of the rotation, students will understand the basic elements of all facets of care provided to NFL players from an orthopedic, primary care sports medicine and athletic training perspective.

The Diversity in Sports Medicine Pipeline Initiative is part of the league's broader commitment to ensure that staff and leaders in the league office and at NFL clubs reflect the racial and gender makeup of America.

A complete roster of 2024 participating students can be found here.

About the UCI School of Medicine

Each year, the UCI School of Medicine educates more than 400 medical students and nearly 150 PhD and MS students. More than 700 residents and fellows are trained at the UCI Medical Center and affiliated institutions. Multiple MD, PhD and MS degrees are offered. Students are encouraged to pursue an expansive range of interests and options. For medical students, there are numerous concurrent dual degree programs, including an MD/MBA, MD/MPH, or an MD/MS degree through one of three mission-based programs: the Health Education to Advance Leaders in Integrative Medicine (HEAL-IM), the Program in Medical Education for Leadership Education to Advance Diversity-African, Black and Caribbean (PRIME LEAD-ABC), and the Program in Medical Education for the Latino Community (PRIME-LC). The UCI School of Medicine is accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Accreditation and ranks among the top 50 nationwide for research. For more information, visit