Wayne State University

Jannel Lee-Allen, M.D. '16

Jannel Lee-Allen, M.D. '16
"I came to Wayne State to meet the needs of the urban underserved."

Jannel Lee-Allen has always loved the city. She was raised in Harlem, New York, and received her undergraduate degree in neuroscience from the University of Pittsburgh. Fueled by a desire to improve life for the nation’s urban population, she came to Detroit in 2002 to pursue her master’s in urban planning at Wayne State University.

Detroit was entering a critical phase in what would ultimately become its resurgence when Jannel came to Wayne State and, after receiving her master’s in 2006, she decided to stick around. Her background in medicine and urban planning put her in a unique situation to help the community; she enrolled in the Wayne State School of Medicine to open up even more avenues for service. “I’ve always known that I want to make a difference,” she said. “I wanted to figure out how we can best serve our urban underserved in all capacities.” 

This desire to serve others drives her exemplary research and medical studies. Jannel is a Wayne State University Board of Governors and Wayne County Medical Society Charles H. Vincent scholar who works closely with her professors and serves as a mentor to fellow students. Her medical school rotations — which have earned her numerous clinical and academic honors — have ranged from internal medicine to psychiatry, giving her a breadth of experience in local clinics and hospitals. She is a member and chapter president of the Gold Humanism Honor Society and a member of the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Medical Student Association and the Student National Medical Association.

That commitment to service extends into the city of Detroit. Jannel’s work through the Gold Humanism Honor Society allows her to work with several local organizations to meet the needs of community youth. Her work with organizations like the Black Medical Association have created opportunities for her to mentor fellow medical students. She also is a co-founder of the Osakwe Jahi Scholarship, which helps local students pursue a college education. “I just believe in service,” she said.

Jannel — who keeps this busy schedule in addition to being a devoted wife and mother — will graduate in May and plans to pursue a career in internal medicine. Wherever the future takes her, one thing is certain — her heart will always be in the city. “I love people and I love science,” she says. “That’s what keeps bringing me back to medicine.”

Jannel is what it looks like to aim higher.

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