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Meet the Eight DO Students Selected for Annual Arnstein Minority Student Scholarship

August 06, 2018

AACOM is committed to fostering excellence and promoting diversity in osteopathic medical education. One of the ways that AACOM fulfills this mission it to award the annual Sherry R. Arnstein Minority Student Scholarship to deserving students. Arnstein awardees are selected after evaluating their credentials, applications, and personal essays on ways to increase student diversity in osteopathic medical school. The 2018 cycle had a record-breaking 158 applications submitted from 28 colleges of osteopathic medicine. From those applicants, eight outstanding osteopathic medical students have been selected to receive scholarships.

AACOM congratulates the following students:

Natasha Baah
Natasha Baah, OU-HCOM, 2nd year

"As a student doctor, I am committed to the movement of increasing, changing, and bettering the future of medicine. URM-targeted Pipeline programs are of great interest to me because I am a product of two. Without these opportunities, I would not be where I am today. I recognize the importance of these programs for others and it drives me to continually engage.”

"How do we increase URM students at osteopathic schools? My answer is that along with expanding access and changing perception, we must remember that who we are outside of the classroom is what makes the inside so special."

Daniela Castro, UIWSOM, incoming

“As a DO student and future DO physician, I understand the responsibility there is to lead by example. In order to help increase minority student enrollment at osteopathic medical colleges, I plan to address the foundation of a student’s support system: the parents. From what I witnessed growing up in a predominantly Hispanic community, many parents feel intimidated by the structure of higher education and feel defeated by the cost. If the parents are informed and motivated, the students will feel their support when they express a desire to pursue a medical education.”

Michael Davis Michael Davis, BCOM, 2nd year

“I believe the most effective way to recruit minority students is to expose them to osteopathic medicine early in their academic and professional careers.”

"During my first year at the Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine (BCOM), I thought to myself, “How impactful would it have been to have been exposed to osteopathic medicine earlier?” Over the past two years, I have taken it upon myself to expose the next generation of students to osteopathic medicine."

Rachelle Dulan Rachelle Dulan, OU-HCOM, 3rd year

“Minority student retention is a topic that does not begin with medical school itself. It starts with middle school and high school aged minority students. A close friend of mine would always say, “you can’t be what you can’t see.” … If you don’t see someone who looks like you in a career, you are less likely to ever consider that career.”

“The African American community is in need of healing touch. Osteopathic touch is rooted in altruism and helps to break down historically rooted barriers of physician mistrust.”

Alaric Gee, WVSOM, 2nd year

“The combination of lack of exposure and rural schools acts as a deterrent for minority populations. I believe the responsibility falls on the osteopathic schools and their students to expose different communities to osteopathic medicine. We also have the responsibility to not only create an environment that welcomes diversity but to actively display it.”

"The Cultural Integration Committee decided to adopt “Humans of New York”, a popular social media page that highlights an individual with unique life experiences each week. ... Our version, “Humans of WVSOM” ... serves to highlight a student each week that comes from a diverse background and how their experiences drew them to osteopathic medicine."

Krystle Gish, MSUCOM, 3rd year

“Another aspect of [becoming an osteopathic physician] has been to prove to myself that an individual’s background, family situation, gender, or other circumstance out of one’s control should not predetermine one’s future. This is a message that needs to be ingrained in the minds of our youth, especially in minority populations.”

"In order to impact the children without role models and connections to the medical world, we as current and future minority physicians have a duty to fill in the gaps. This means spending time in schools and afterschool programs.”

Adam Moreno Adam Moreno, BCOM, 2nd year

"I like to believe that maybe things might have been different if my exclusively Spanish-speaking grandmother, living in a border town, knew there was a subset of medicine whose first tenant focuses on the mind, body, and spirit. This leaves me with a question: how do we reach underrepresented minorities and recruit them to provide care to people who need it the most?"

“Most of the information I gained about medicine as a career or life as a medical student was gained by watching videos. My breaks from studying were spent watching countless videos about medical students across the country and their journey through the rigors of medical education–few were osteopathic students, none were minorities. What if we could become a primary resource?”

Moreno Valdezon Moreno Valdizon, ARCOM, 1st year

“I have collaborated with my school’s student affairs office and together we reach out to the local colleges and high schools to provide many types of support. We have organized a group of diverse volunteer medical students from multiple backgrounds that speak a variety of languages, and we walk through scholarship applications and federal financial aid forms with students and their parents.”

"The biggest obstacle I faced was figuring out how to finance my education. Being a first-generation college student, and a first-ever medical student in my family, I did not know anyone who had been through the process of navigating the complex avenues of achieving monetary aid."

We hope that their stories may inspire and encourage students to come together to share experiences and promote diversity along the journey to a career in medicine. 

About the Arnstein Scholarship

Named after former AACOM Executive Director and minority civil rights leader Sherry R. Arnstein, the Sherry R. Arnstein Minority Student Scholarship Program aims to recognize and support underrepresented minority students at AACOM’s member colleges of osteopathic medicine (COMs). Read Climbing the Ladder: A Look at Sherry R. Arnstein for more information on her life and work.

The 2019 Sherry R. Arnstein Minority Student Scholarship application cycle will open in January 2019. Visit AACOM’s Sherry R. Arnstein Minority Student Scholarship web page for eligibility information, application deadlines, and more!


Contact Joye Shepperd



Vol. 2, No. 14
August 9, 2018