The Aetna Foundation/NMF Healthcare Leadership Program was created in 2011 to help address the severe national shortage of physician-leaders who are committed to the health of underserved communities. The program provides $5,000 scholarships to second- and third-year medical students from underrepresented minority groups with a commitment to serve medically underserved communities.
The recipients of medical school scholarships include:
Crystal Castañeda, a third-year medical student at Weill Cornell Medical College, who has served as an elected official for several student organizations and volunteered at Weill Cornell Community Clinic in New York. As an undergraduate majoring in behavioral neuroscience at Yale University, she was active in several organizations, such as the Minorities in Medicine Movement Group, and co-founder of the High School Liaison. She also has served as an AmeriCorps Volunteer at the Christ House Medical Shelter in Washington, D.C.
Magdala Chery, a second-year medical student at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, School of Osteopathic Medicine, who as an Albert Schweitzer Fellow created an initiative to promote healthy body images and reduce dating violence among at-risk adolescent girls. She holds a B.S. in biology from Montclair State University and a M.B.S. from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.
Chinonyerem Okoro, a second-year medical student at the New York University School of Medicine, who has served as co-president of the Black and Latino Association, vice president of the MiniMeds program, an organization aimed at introducing youth to a potential career in medicine, and been an active member of the Hepatitis Project. Born and raised in Nigeria, he graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Maryland.
Nicholas Kenji Taylor, a second-year medical student at the University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine, who recently received an Albert Schweitzer Fellowship to work with the African-American male community in Philadelphia to raise awareness of hypertension. He is community service chair of the Student National Medical Association, co-chair of the Covenant House – a crisis center for displaced youth - and secretary and founding editor of the Penn Med Academy Health Chapter newsletter. He received his bachelor’s degree in neuroscience from Brown University.
Carmen E. Cancino, a third-year medical student from the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago, who was a recipient of a Albert Schweitzer Fellowship Award and who created a Young Doctors Club for middle school students in a predominantly African-American and low-income neighborhood.
Monique Chambers, a second-year medical student at the University of California, Davis who initiated the first elective course at UC Davis designed specifically on the social determinants of minority health outcomes. She is also co-director of the Imani Clinic, a student-run free clinic providing primary care to the uninsured in a historically African-American neighborhood.
Cassandra M. List, a second-year medical student from the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago, who serves as co-president of the school’s chapter of the Latino Medical Student Association and as a Spanish interpreter in community health clinics.
Shamsideen O. Musa, a third-year medical student from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, who developed a weekend science curriculum taught by Pritzker medical students to urban teenagers interested in science and medicine and who also founded a student program, Big Sibs-Little Sibs, in which medical students from minority backgrounds mentor minority undergraduates interested in medicine.
Veronica Ramirez, a second-year medical student at Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, who created the Latino Health Awareness Project, a Latino Medical Student Association initiative at Keck.
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