BCOM Students Michael Davis, OMS-III, and Adam Moreno, OMS-III, with BCOM Dean Don N. Peska, DO.

BCOM students Adam Moreno and Michael Davis were selected out of over 160 applicants as awardees of the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) Sherry R. Arnstein Minority Student Scholarship. The award recognizes underrepresented minority students attending one of the AACOM member colleges in honor of Arnstein, a public policy expert who, among other accomplishments in her career, lead the development of a federal strategy to desegregate all hospitals in the United States. (Read more about Arnstein at: aacom.org/news-and-events/publications/iome/2015/july-august-2015/Arnstein-bio.)

Applicants for the scholarship submitted essays discussing how they plan to help increase minority student enrollment in osteopathic medical colleges and what they believe the schools themselves can do to recruit and retain underrepresented minority students. The essays were judged on innovation, proposed actions, significance of ideas, and feasibility.

In a letter to BCOM Dean Don N. Peska, DO, AACOM President Stephen C. Shannon, DO, wrote, “The students amaze us with their experience and ideas. We had everything from a student photographer who worked as much as possible while completing premedical prerequisites, to those who volunteered at clinics for underserved populations; researchers; elementary school teachers and even a beauty pageant winner. Your students are first generation college graduates, scribers, linguists, video promoters and cartographers…Your students want to be ‘doctors who listen,’ linguists who can explain, lecturers on anatomy in elementary schools. And most of all, they want to be healers who usher wellness back into the lives of their patients.”

Davis, a member of BCOM’s inaugural class of 2020, said he was “both humbled and honored” to receive the award. “Increasing diversity in the medical field is a top priority for me, I aim to pave the way for future generations of students of color to reach their goals of becoming physicians,” he added.

Davis’ essay detailed his efforts to mentor young minority students and get them interested in medicine as early as possible via his work with the Student Osteopathic Medical Association and the Student National Medical Association. He also recommended creating an annual Minorities in Medicine Symposium to “provide prospective students of color with direct interaction with current osteopathic medical students of color and admission personnel. I believe that investing in our youth is imperative. They will become the next great generation of minority medical students and physicians.”

Moreno, also a member of the class of 2020, is the aforementioned photographer in Dr. Shannon’s letter. His essay recommends “targeting young people where they spend most of their time: the digital realm,” through multimedia campaigns and “high quality, engaging content featuring video interviews and profiles of minority medical students who are relatable to young people in high school and college.”

Of being awarded the scholarship, Moreno said, “I am humbled with this recognition and thankful to AACOM for maintaining the idea that diversity and innovation are at the core of osteopathic medicine. This scholarship will help me continue my education and hopefully inspire those who wish to pursue a career in medicine regardless of their background.”