Award honors underrepresented minority students in osteopathic medical education
(Bethesda, MD)- Recognizing the achievements and passion of these student doctors, the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) today announced the recipients of the 2021 Sherry R. Arnstein Minority Scholarship. The scholarship was endowed by the Arnstein family to honor her legacy and to help at least one current and one new minority osteopathic student fund their education. This year’s recipients are:
- Darian Dozier from Sam Houston State University College of Osteopathic Medicine
- Chinasa Ekweremuba from Rocky Vista College of Osteopathic Medicine
- Limayre Mendoza from Oklahoma State University Center for Health Science’s College of Osteopathic Medicine.
- Dajamen Mitchell from Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine of Midwestern University
- Ethan Daniel Zerpa-Blanco from Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine
“These students represent the future of osteopathic medicine and the future of America’s healthcare network,” said AACOM President and CEO Robert A. Cain, DO. “Our country is in desperate need of highly trained and skilled physicians…particularly doctors of color and those dedicated to practicing in underserved and rural areas. Each of these recipients has demonstrated the ability to overcome challenges and is committed to bringing osteopathic medical treatment to those most in need. There is no better way to honor the legacy of Sherry Arnstein.”
A former executive director of AACOM, Arnstein spent more than 30 years in public service, first in her native California and then in Washington, D.C. While serving in the Kennedy Administration in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Arnstein led the team developing the federal strategy to desegregate all hospitals in the United States. The segregation of hospitals was causing immense harm to minority patients and leading to poor access to healthcare and a poor quality of life; especially in rural areas and urban centers where healthcare options were minimal. Arnstein’s career is a testament to fighting for social justice and health equity. You can learn more about her at aacom.org.
"I’m very grateful to be a recipient of the Sherry R. Arnstein Minority Student Scholarship. I’ve recently had a large financial strain so this couldn’t have come at a better time,” stated Darian Dozier. “I’m proud to represent my school, Sam Houston State College of Osteopathic Medicine, and appreciative of the opportunity to be considered along with so many other great candidates. Once again thank you to the selection committee for choosing me and words cannot express how great the impact is of this award."
“I am sincerely honored to have been selected as a recipient of the 2021 Sherry R. Arnstein Minority Student Scholarship,” says Chinasa Ekweremuba. “In the future, I imagine myself serving diverse and underrepresented communities where members can access primary care services that meet their needs, as there are numerous challenges in taking care of individuals who live in these communities.”
“As a first-generation student, strong support has been pivotal to my success as an osteopathic medical student. Through scholarships like the Sherry Arnstein Minority Scholarship, AACOM shows its commitment to diversifying medicine by helping mitigate the financial strain that can often prevent students like me from pursuing careers in medicine,” said Limayre Mendoza. “As a future Hispanic physician, I understand the dire need for physicians who understand a patient's linguistic and cultural background. I am committed to bridging the gap for my future patients and underserved populations.”
“I'm honored to be a Sherry R. Arnstein Minority Student Scholar and to be recognized as an African American osteopathic medical student. As an underrepresented minority in medicine, receiving this award assures me that I am on the right path to helping the underserved and changing the face of medicine,” noted Dajamen Mitchell. “When I become a physician, I plan to serve these underserved communities by providing the best possible care to those who need it the most, as well as setting up clinics to treat those struggling to receive medication for HIV/AIDS and other preventable conditions.”
"I am humbled to have received this scholarship and am grateful to the Sherry R. Arnstein committee and to AACOM for their generosity and continued commitment to increasing medical student diversity,” said Ethan Daniel Zerpa-Blanco. “I am proud to be an Hispanic immigrant and hope to be an example for other URM students who aim to pursue careers in osteopathic medicine. As a future osteopathic physician, I aspire to use my skills and knowledge to care for the underserved patients that need it most, whether I'm at a rural critical-access hospital, a community hospital in a disadvantaged neighborhood, or an inner-city hospital."
The Sherry R. Arnstein Minority Student Scholarship was established in honor of her life’s dedication to public service and social equity and justice. After the initial endowment AACOM continued funding for the program, which has grown steadily since its inaugural grants were awarded; each year receiving more applications and awarding more scholarships.
The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) leads and advocates for the full continuum of osteopathic medical education to improve the health of the public. Founded in 1898 to support and assist the nation's osteopathic medical schools, AACOM represents all 37 colleges of osteopathic medicine—educating nearly 34,000 future physicians, 25 percent of all U.S. medical students—at 58 teaching locations in 33 U.S. states, as well as osteopathic graduate medical education professionals and trainees at U.S. medical centers, hospitals, clinics and health systems.
AACOM Director of Media Relations
AACOM Media and Public Affairs Manager