Third-year medical students Rochelle Almario and Nancy Phu are the inaugural recipients of the Tucson Osteopathic Medical Foundation (TOMF) Founders’ Scholarship. The monetary award, a minimum of $5,000, will help the students pay for educational expenses at the Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Established in 1986, TOMF is an independent, non-profit organization that utilizes an endowment to support medical education and charitable services and to achieve excellence, innovation and caring in community health care issues.

The TOMF Founders’ Scholarship will be awarded annually at the Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine. Eligible participants must be second- or third-year medical students seeking a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. A 3.0 GPA or better is required at the time of application, as well as a letter of recommendation from a physician, a statement of financial need and an essay about how applicants will contribute to the legacy of osteopathic medicine.

The following are the recipients of this year’s awards:

Rochelle Almario

Rochelle Almario

Originally from Michigan, Rochelle Almario moved to Tucson, Arizona at a young age. She earned a bachelor’s degree in physiology from the University of Arizona, graduating with honors and a minor in Spanish.

As an undergraduate, Almario regularly volunteered with the university’s mobile health program, which provided quality health care to underserved populations in Southern Arizona. “My experiences with mobile health helped me realize my underlying desire to utilize my skills for the benefit of the community,” she says.

Almario has continued to serve others as a medical student in Las Cruces, volunteering at a soup kitchen, animal shelter and local parks for cleanup.

Almario is a member of the American College of Osteopathic Pediatricians and Sigma Sigma Phi, an honorary osteopathic service fraternity that engages with the local community. She ranks in the first quartile of her class and works as a tutor for the musculoskeletal system block at Burrell College.

Nancy Phu

Nancy Phu

Nancy Phu is a third-year medical student completing her clinical rotations in Tucson, Arizona. She earned her bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from San Jose State University. After graduation, Phu worked as a clinical research associate at Gauss Surgical, a company that works to monitor and calculate intraoperative blood loss.

Phu has worked endlessly on several committees to enhance the student learning experience. She is an active member and former executive leader of Sigma Sigma Phi, as well as a member of the Pima County Medical Society and the Arizona Osteopathic Medical Association.

Phu takes pride in setting a record high of over 1,400 community service under her leadership in Sigma Sigma Phi. Her community service activities include organizing the annual health fair with the surgery club to provide education on various health topics such as basic hygiene, CPR and dietary intake. Her community involvement has led to the establishment of a partnership with the Blue Cross Blue Shield Care Van Program to provide mobile care to Southern New Mexico.

For more information about the Founders’ Scholarship, or to learn how you can apply, contact Marlene Melendez, EdD, at mmelendez@bcomNM.org.