Celebrating 20 Years of Inspiring the Next Generation of Health Services Researchers

Darryl Powell Jr., MD, SUMR '08

Darryl Powell, Jr.

Darryl Powell Jr., MD, SUMR '08

One of the SUMR's most tragic successes was Darryl Powell, Jr., who went through the 2008 SUMR program as a rising senior studying the Biological Basis of Behavior at Penn. "Darryl was just such a sweet, dear person who was a born leader," said SUMR Program Director Joanne Levy, MBA. "After his sudden death I went to his memorial service and it was incredible how many lives he touched in such a short time."

Powell grew up in Philadelphia and attended Masterman High before entering Penn and becoming a SUMR Scholar in his junior year, 2008. He was a musician who organized Masterman's first gospel choir. Later at Penn, despite his frantic pre-med school schedule, he similarly found time to sing and later direct Penn's New Spirit Choir. At the same time as a med student, he volunteered to work in the youth homeless shelter Covenant House where he organized an acapella group called the Ultrasounds.

Powell, a standout student in every level of his education, earned his MD at Penn in 2013 and went on to serve dual residencies at Harvard's Brigham and Women's Hospital and Boston Children's Hospital. After being chosen as chief resident, he founded the Boston Combined Residency Program Diversity Council and served as a mentor in a national program for minority physicians. He also organized a seminar series about social justice for minority residents.

He died of a sudden illness in April 2017 at age 30. His passing occurred as he was preparing to return to Philadelpia to begin a fellowship in pediatric hematology and oncology at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

In its memoriam, Brigham Clinical & Research News said Powell "was known for his joyful spirit, the exceptional care he provided to patients, the relationships he formed with his colleagues and his devotion to improving care for underserved populations." A sentiment shared by Colleen Monaghan, MD, associate program director of the Med-Peds residency program, was echoed by many who knew him: “Anyone who had an encounter with Darryl left feeling better."