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Dr. Meta Christy’s Legacy Celebrated at Educating Leaders 2022

February 03, 2022


Photo courtesy of the Philadelphia
College of Osteopathic Medicine

AACOM is pleased to announce that Educating Leaders 2022 will host the inaugural “Dr. Meta Christy Presentation” in honor of Meta Christy, DO, the first Black osteopathic physician. This year’s presentation will be a panel discussion titled Past and Present: Experiences of Underrepresented Groups and Populations in Medicine Across Generations and will be held during our annual conference in Denver, Colorado from April 27-29.

Dr. Christy, a graduate of the 1921 class of the Pennsylvania College of Infirmary and Osteopathy, now known as the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, dedicated nearly four decades to serving patients. She first practiced in her hometown of Kokomo, Indiana and then in her adopted community of Las Vegas, New Mexico. Dr. Christy’s medical practice in Las Vegas catered to African Americans who were denied service at the local hospital because of discriminatory sentiments held at the time. With the establishment of the Dr. Meta Christy Presentation, we hope to ensure that her legacy and contributions to the field of osteopathic medicine are always remembered and celebrated.

The inaugural Dr. Meta Christy Presentation will bring together a four-person panel of osteopathic medical students and physicians who are dedicated to improving the experience of medical school for students from populations which are underrepresented in medicine. The discussion will inform conference attendees about the challenges faced by women and people of color in their journeys to becoming physicians, and identify ways in which we can improve medical education for future generations. Barbara Ross-Lee, DO, the first African-American woman to become dean of a U.S. medical school, will moderate the panel.

Meet the Panelists

Nii-Daako Darko, DO, MBA, FACS

Trauma surgeon, entrepreneur, best-selling author and host of Docs Outside the Box podcast, Dr. Nii-Daako Darko is a graduate of the Kansas City University College of Osteopathic Medicine (KCU-COM). Together with his wife, Dr. Renée Volny Darko, he volunteers to do medical missions in Ghana and has launched several businesses targeted to helping other medical professionals succeed.

Renée Volny Darko, DO, MBA, FACOG

OB/GYN and also a graduate of KCU-COM, Dr. Renée Volny Darko is the founder and CEO of Pre-med Strategies Inc. She created MEdEq, an app-based program to help medical schools increase their URM pre-med engagement, recruitment and admissions. She followed a non-traditional pathway to medical school, spending time after college working various jobs, including as a high-school science teacher.

Jose Parra, MS, OMS III

Jose Parra is a third-year medical student at Touro University Nevada College of Osteopathic Medicine and serves as AACOM’s Council of Osteopathic Student Government Presidents National Chair for the 2021-2022 academic year. He is a first-generation college graduate and the first in his family to pursue a career in medicine.

Azaria Lewis, MS, OMS III

Azaria Lewis is a third-year medical student at Western University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific (WesternU/COMP). She is a member of the American Osteopathic Association’s Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation Diversity Task Force and founding president of the White Coats for Black Lives - WesternU/COMP chapter. She is an ex-officio board member at the San Bernardino County Medical Society and the vice chair of legislative affairs at the California Medical Association Medical Student Section.