Qiana J. Smith

"Everyone deserves access to regular health care services, in the United States, regardless of religion, socioeconomic status, or location. It's disturbing to hear the many stories of people who lack access to primary care services and health care facilities, which are so vital for the prevention of many chronic conditions and premature deaths. It is equally as disturbing to know that there is such a disproportional misrepresentation in the number of minority physicians in the United States, considering the large amounts of minority populations served. Becoming an osteopathic physician will grant me the opportunity to be an agent of healing and an advocate for those in underserved communities, to make a difference in health care disparities and bring awareness to the osteopathic profession."

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Qiana J. Smith, first-year student at the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine-Virginia Campus (VCOM-VC), was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. Some of her most treasured moments during childhood were the visits to her doctor who always treated her with dignity and made her feel very special. Her dream was to also become a physician—to help children feel amazing and provide genuine care and healing.

With this dream, Qiana did not have a specific path. She attended Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School where she was a member of the track and field team, which provided an escape from her life in the projects. Track and field enabled her to become disciplined, and developed her appreciation for time management, sacrifice, and team work. She continued track as a collegiate athlete, graduating from Long Island University with a Bachelor of Science in Sports Science. While there, she was also co-captain of the track team. Upon graduation in 2008, Qiana was awarded the Deans Clinical Excellence Science Award.

After seeking an opportunity for an exercise physiology internship, her dream of becoming a physician was re-ignited. Her journey began with much trial and error, as she began to seek advice and help, but was rejected by many. However in 2011, she met one of her current mentors, who encouraged her to join “Mentoring in Medicine” and connected her with a premedical advisor.

Over the past five years, Qiana has been very determined to recreate herself and become a physician. She joined “Mentoring in Medicine” where she learned about the importance of being a well-rounded, holistic physician. She also joined the Northeast Regional Alliance, where she tackled tough discussions on cultural competency and health care disparities. To improve her academic record, she pursued a Master of Science in Biology.

As a student doctor, Qiana looks forward to developing relationships in underserved health care communities. Her hopes are to inspire others to reach their goals, while making a difference in bridging the gaps in the delivery of health care.