The American Osteopathic Foundation is proud to recognize seven outstanding minority Osteopathic medical students as recipients of the prestigious William G. Anderson, DO, Minority Scholarship in 2022.
Seven Osteopathic Medical Students Receive AOF William G. Anderson, DO, Minority Scholarships
Breyonna Maddox, DO
Nova Southeastern University Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine (2022 graduate)
Dr. Maddox entered a pediatrics residency at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital this fall. A dedicated student leader, she served terms as vice president of KPCOM’s student government, secretary of the Pediatrics Club, and vice president of the Emergency Medicine Club.
As a member of KPCOM’s Student National Medical Association Executive Board, she mentored underrepresented minority medical students.
She recently completed a Human Trafficking Awareness for Health Care Providers Certification, to identify victims of human trafficking and how to appropriately aid these patients in future practice. “I am excited to use my story to continue to give a voice, a face, and power to disenfranchised persons.”
Eric Nicolau, OMS IV
West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (class of 2023)
Student Doctor Nicolau is actively working to increase diversity on campus as chair of WVSOM’s Cultural Integration Committee, founder of its World AIDS Day Series, and as student member of the Committee on Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion.
For these efforts, he received the Diversity Task Force Eva Teter Hammer Award in 2020, given to students striving to eliminate health inequities.
“As a physician, I want to help patients adapt to and overcome the burdens of illness and disability, to improve function and quality of life while also respecting the often-overlooked intersections of culture, both in its challenges and beauty.”
Manuel Reyes, OMS III
Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine-Virginia (class of 2024)
Student Doctor Reyes works on campus to improve outreach to the Hispanic community and recruitment of Latinx medical students, leading medical Spanish workshops to help peers develop skills, and planning Spanish-language health fairs in local counties.
In 2021, he received VCOM-Virginia’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Leadership Award and is current president of this school’s Hispanic Community Medical Outreach club.
His work helps “address the barriers patients face, promote ways to engage patients, and adapt new ways of learning…As we grow more diverse in terms of language, culture, and identity, it is essential that future providers can adapt to these changes.”
Nancy Githere, MPH, OMS III
Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine (class of 2024)
Committed to supporting underrepresented minorities in medicine, Student Doctor Githere currently serves on Marian’s Diversity and Inclusion Task Force and is a founding member of the podcast “Until It’s Broken,” which discusses health disparities topics from the lens of students in health professions.
She was the liaison for Marian’s Women’s Health club and Student National Medical Association and was elected SNMA President for 2021-2022.
“My consistent involvement in organizations and research that center around unearthing and educating society about health disparities–especially in Black communities–is my way of protesting these very inequalities.”
Phuong Thi Ngoc Daniels, DPT, OMS IV
Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (class of 2023)
Student Doctor Daniels earned a doctorate in physical therapy and practiced for seven years before realizing her dream of enrolling in medical school, a dream that began on a medical mission trip providing primary care to rural regions in her home country of Vietnam.
Now a fourth-year student, Student Doctor Daniels helps improve equity in education through LECOM’s Big/Little program and as an admissions ambassador.
She is currently completing a research internship at University Hospitals, Cleveland Medical Center. “I understand the importance of making sure that all people are treated with care, respect, and dignity no matter their background,” she says.
Rachel Vo Christenson, OMS IV
Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine (class of 2023)
Student Doctor Christenson serves as a mentor to matriculating minority medical students at DMU-COM and co-facilitated a course on cultural competency to improve understanding on how personal biases may affect overall patient care.
She is working on a research project investigating individual and systemic barriers faced by women of color and their infants.
She also volunteers in her community, organizing childcare for families impacted by COVID-19, distributing meals to people experiencing hunger, and providing care to underserved residents.
“I wish to help eliminate the disparities and inefficiencies of our system. I bring with me a commitment to learning and teaching, a dedication to teamwork and community, and a drive for change.”
Yvonne Vigil-Calderon, OMS III
Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine-California (class of 2024)
Student Doctor Calderon is president of the Latino Medical Student Association and is working to establish a pre-med minority mentorship program at Touro. She helped implement gender-neutral vocabulary in the school’s curriculum and remove gender-segregated policies.
She worked with Touro’s Diabetes Team to create a patient education program, then translated it into Spanish.
She volunteers with the Hispanic Leadership and Latino Emergency Council and has completed Kaiser Permanente’s Introduction to Integrated Healthcare program. “Dismantling the systems and the social norms, policies, and inequities that uphold [discrimination and racism] will always be my priority.”
“This selection of outstanding Osteopathic medical students is a catalyst driving vital change for the better in schools and communities across the country.
They represent a diverse spectrum of future Osteopathic medical professionals working towards the common goal of inclusivity for physicians and patients alike,” says AOF CEO Rita Forden.
Named for civil rights pioneer and Osteopathic trailblazer William G. Anderson, DO, the AOF Anderson Minority Scholarship recognizes minority medical students who show exceptional promise, strong financial need, and a commitment to addressing barriers and inequities in health care.
The scholarship was expanded in 2022 thanks to a generous $1 million endowment from The Heatherington Foundation for Innovation and Education in Health Care and provides $10,000 awards.