Willie C. Gilbert Jr., OMS III, didn't plan to be a doctor. In fact, practicing medicine was "at best a dream," he says, due to his tumultuous early life. Yet these challenges helped shape him into a socially conscious advocate: "Unbeknownst to me, I was experiencing an adversity that would instill in me a passion to help other underprivileged families."
The William G. Anderson, DO, Minority Scholarship recognizes minority medical students who are proven leaders in addressing minorities' educational, societal, and health needs. Student Doctor Gilbert is certainly this. As 2016-2017 President of the Student National Medical Association, he led an organization dedicated the needs of underserved communities and minorities.
It's not the first time he put others' needs above his own. Gilbert enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, graduating with Distinction & Honors from the Air Force Material Management Technical School in 2007 and enrolling in the U.S. Air Force Academy to study biology before circumstances forced him to return home and care for his siblings.
Student Doctor Gilbert received his B.S. in biology from the University of Oklahoma and his Masters from Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine (Touro COM) before enrolling as an osteopathic medical student at Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine (OSU-COM), where he has been on the Dean's Honor Roll since 2015. "[Willie is] a true, all-around top 5% student…And I don't mean the top 5% of his class--I rank him in the top 5% of students I have ever had the pleasure of working with," says pharmacology professor Randy Wymore, PhD.
Though Student Doctor Gilbert volunteers tirelessly, one striking example was at recent Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students Conferences. Here he organized a panel discussion for minority DO students and residents to share their story with pre-meds. "Student Doctor Gilbert is a phenomenal ambassador for a diverse osteopathic profession and an inspiration for advancing the needs of minorities and patients" says Stephen Downey, AOF Executive Director.
Matthew Tucker, DO, clinical assistant professor of medicine at OSU-COM, who recommended Gilbert fort his award, says "I'm constantly impressed by the drive and tenacity this young man exhibits on a daily basis…to know that he has accomplished so much at this point in his life speaks volumes for his resolve."
This is far from Dr. Gilbert's first honor, having received Touro COM's Academic Excellence in Community Service Performance Award in 2015, among others. Yet he calls this award particularly meaningful. "Dr. Anderson's story and accomplishments are very inspirational. I am extremely thankful for his sacrifice and dedication to fight for equality so that me and other minorities can live the American Dream. I aspire to follow in his footsteps."
For his outstanding leadership in bringing care and education to underserved communities, the American Osteopathic Foundation is proud to award Willie Gilbert, OMS III, the 2017 William G. Anderson, DO, Minority Scholarship.