Achieving Diversity in Medical School: TouroCOM-NY Report Highlights Value of Mentoring Programs for Increasing Underrepresented Minority Students in Medicine
Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine - New York (TouroCOM-NY) Harlem Campus has found that the successful recruitment of underrepresented minority students to medical school is enhanced when prospective applicants are able to interact with minority medical students who have already overcome the barriers.
These findings are published this month in the Journal of Osteopathic Medicine, “Diversity in Osteopathic Medical School Admissions and the COMPASS Program.” The article is co-authored by TouroCOM-NY Dean of Student Affairs Nadege Dady, EdD; third-year students Kelly Ann Mungroo and Ta’Loria Young; former TouroCOM-NY Harlem Dean David Forstein, DO, FACOOG; and Jemima Akinsanya, DO, ‘16.
“The most valuable lessons we learned are that pathway programs serve as a vital route for matriculation,” said Dr. Dady, adding, “It is not enough to simply recruit diverse candidates—the environment on campus must also mirror that diversity and provide opportunities to connect with faculty and students who can provide necessary mentorship.” Read more about this important research.
Megan Johnson, PCOM Medical Student, Contestant on American Ninja Warrior
For most people, the workload of medical school is enough to fill their calendar. From late night study sessions to long days spent in rotations, determination and motivation are essential characteristics for becoming a physician. Thankfully, for Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) third-year student Megan Johnson, she has been honing these skills and applying them to excel, not just in medical school and her military career, but also in the grueling television sports competition American Ninja Warrior.
“I was always an athlete but I was inspired to try something new,” said Ms. Johnson of her decision to apply for the show three years ago. For over 10 years, American Ninja Warrior has pushed competitors to complete a series of increasingly difficult obstacle courses, in towns and cities across the United States, in hopes of reaching the final obstacle course in Las Vegas, NV and becoming the season’s winner. Before starting medical school, Ms. Johnson competed in season 10 of the show and then again in season 11. She was invited to compete in season 12 but had to defer for season 13 due to commitments to the Army. “I decided to apply for the show to step out of my comfort zone, now I’m hooked on the ‘ninja community and spirit,’” shared Ms. Johnson. Read more about Ms. Johnson’s experience.
Grant Bolsters Cultural Humility Course at DMU-COM
Photo: Pre-pandemic, DMU students provide free health screenings at a Des Moines Buddhist temple.
Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine (DMU-COM) is an innovator and leader among medical schools with its multifaceted efforts to develop students’ cultural humility. One example is the osteopathic medical program’s year-long Foundations of Physicianship course, the second semester of which focuses on socially and culturally responsive care. Developed in 2017, the course received the 2019 Innovation in the Development of Enduring Educational Materials Award from AACOM.
However, recent acts of violence against persons of color and the disproportionate COVID-19 impact amplifying existing health disparities among communities of color led three DMU faculty—Richard Salas, PhD, chief diversity officer; Lisa Streyffeler, PhD, chair of the behavioral medicine department; and Julia Van Liew, PhD, assistant professor of behavioral medicine—to evaluate and refresh the course’s content and format. Read more about the course updates supported by a three-year, $93,430 grant, beginning on Jan. 1, 2021, from the Mid-Iowa Health Foundation.
TUCOM-CA Students Assist at Stockton Vaccine Event
Photo: TUCOM-CA students Nick Huerta, Ruby Gilmor and Hashir Qamar take a quick break from their volunteer work at a vaccine event at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds.
For medical students, rotations are a double-edged sword. On one hand, they are a welcome break from the classroom and being in a clinical setting feels like what most have set out to do when first entering medical school. On the other hand, there is still a lot to learn and observe and the actual patient care is still minimal.
That has changed to an extent with the COVID-19 pandemic, as increased demands on frontline healthcare workers have meant healthcare systems and facilities have had to get strategic in how human resources are employed in the fight against COVID.
Three current Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine – California (TUCOM-CA) students, Ruby Gilmor, Nick Huerta and Hashir Qamar, experienced that firsthand recently during a vaccine clinic at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds in Stockton, CA. Read more about their volunteer experience.
NYITCOM-Arkansas Leading Community Vaccination Events
Photo: Fourth-year medical student Niki Shah administers a COVID-19 vaccine.
New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine-Arkansas (NYITCOM-Arkansas) helped lead a community COVID-19 vaccination event on Saturday, March 6, at which 1,662 vaccines were administered. NYITCOM-Arkansas students, faculty and staff volunteers administered doses, consulted with attendees, interpreted for Spanish speakers and selflessly served in a number of ways. NYITCOM-Arkansas is in the process of scheduling several mobile vaccination clinics throughout Northeast Arkansas in the next few weeks.
“We came together not as individual groups, but as individuals with the common goal of stopping this pandemic in our region and fighting back on the devastating effects we’ve all seen this virus can cause,” said Shane Speights, DO, site dean of NYITCOM-Arkansas. Read more about NYITCOM-Arkansas’ vaccination efforts.
WVSOM Predoctoral Students Assist at Vaccination Clinics throughout State
Having passed the one-year milestone since the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 pandemic a global health emergency, students at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM) are dedicated to playing a role in trying to bring the crisis to an end. Predoctoral students in the school’s Statewide Campus system, where third- and fourth-year students fulfill their clinical rotations, have been volunteering at community vaccination clinics throughout West Virginia, performing tasks ranging from registering patients and preparing doses to administering the vaccine itself and monitoring for side effects immediately after the injection. Read more about WVSOM’s vaccination efforts.
CCOM/MWU Students Host Virtual Program to Showcase Healthcare Careers
Photo: The student organizers of CCOM/MWU's virtual mini medical school program are (from left) Sunaina Kalidindi, Surah Marwaha, Emily Mosher and Amelia Lerch.
Students at Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine of Midwestern University (CCOM/MWU) created a new virtual program designed to introduce undergraduate and high school students to the many aspects of health science careers through lectures, interactive demonstrations and scientific exploration.
CCOM/MWU students, along with students from other academic programs at Midwestern University, presented a virtual mini medical school on five consecutive Saturdays in January and February to more than 70 students from under-represented and diverse backgrounds.
“It was important for CCOM/MWU to do this to start building relationships with high schools and colleges that have diverse populations,” said Emily Mosher (CCOM/MWU 2022), one of the organizers of the event. “It is important that CCOM/MWU contributes to increasing the education and opportunities for minority students and showing them all the possibilities and resources that are available.” Read more about the virtual program.
VCOM-Virginia Presents Inaugural Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Leadership Award to Jeanne Nwagwu
Congratulations to osteopathic medical student Jeanne Nwagwu on being awarded the inaugural Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Leadership Award. Since arriving at Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine - Virginia Campus (VCOM-Virginia), Jeanne has served as the president of VCOM’s Student National Medical Association (SNMA) chapter, co-founded the Beyond the Medicine series and is currently serving as a regional director for SNMA’s national organization.
The DEI Leadership Award was developed by the Student Government Association and the Diversity and Inclusion Committee in order to create a space to recognize and celebrate a student leader who has gone above and beyond in advocating for their peers, future colleagues and future patients through their work in promoting DEI over the course of the past year. Read more about Ms. Nwagwu’s recognition.
VCOM-Carolinas Students Help Open New Vaccine Clinic
In March, Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine - Carolinas Campus (VCOM-Carolinas) students worked alongside physician faculty members and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) personnel at a new clinic in Northside Spartanburg, SC. The Northside Medical Clinic officially opened on March 1, offering COVID-19 vaccines in a cooperative effort between VCOM-Carolinas and the South Carolina DHEC. VCOM-Carolinas students distributed vaccines and provided care to many patients from the Spartanburg Community in a valiant effort to defeat the pandemic.
VCOM-Auburn Discusses COVID-19 Vaccination Efforts with Radio Audience
Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine - Auburn Campus (VCOM-Auburn) interim dean John Lucas, DO, ACOEP, and VCOM-Auburn immunology discipline chair Joseph Brewer, PhD, appeared on the February 26, 2021 edition of the WANI 98.7 “Auburn/Opelika This Morning” community radio show with host Zac Blackerby. Lucas and Brewer discussed the COVID-19 vaccine and the work of VCOM-Auburn faculty and students to assist with local vaccination efforts. Brewer explained how the various vaccines worked to protect recipients, while both dispelled common myths about the vaccines. Listen to an audio archive of the show.
ICOM Honors Student Doctor Austin Jenkins
The Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine (ICOM) honored the life of student doctor Austin Jenkins on Friday, February 26, during a celebration of life at its Meridian-based campus. Student Doctor Jenkins tragically lost his life in a vehicle accident on October 10, 2020.
As tribute, ICOM unveiled a memorial stone that will be placed in the courtyard, adjacent to the medical school’s reflection pools. ICOM administration also announced the creation of the Austin Jenkins Scholarship Fund, through which funds raised will support scholarships for ICOM students.
“While we deeply mourn the loss of student doctor Jenkins, we know the memory of his inspiring life will live on—including within the lives of ICOM students blessed to receive a scholarship in his name,” said Tracy J. Farnsworth, EdD, MHSA, MBA, ICOM president. Read more about the commemoration.
KCU-COM Class of 2024 Celebrates Vaccination Clinic Highlights
Kansas City University College of Osteopathic Medicine (KCU-COM) celebrated the class of 2024 with a special ceremony. The ceremony included an inspirational video to showcase the great work they and their second-year colleagues are doing to save lives through vaccinating the communities of Kansas City and Joplin, MO. Watch the video documenting the vaccination clinic.