Chandresh Nandani, OMS III at Midwestern University - AZCOM, Awarded $5,000 Founders' Scholarship

March 4, 2020

I have the conviction that a group of people working towards the same goal is capable of almost anything. Teamwork fuels medicine and seeing just how much physicians can contribute has been the driving force behind all my endeavors in medical school. As a TA throughout OMS2 for Anatomy and Physiology, we had the change to aid our peers’ academics, but more importantly ease their concerns and give advice for moving through school. My forebears did the same for me and this was my chance to provide the type of mentorship that was crucial to me; we are at our best when we are lifting each other up. As president of the Gay Straight Alliance, I provide LGBT+ students with a sense of belonging and social support amidst the greater campus community. Furthermore, we changed the clinical curriculum, provided HIV testing, and facilitated workshops to improve the care of future LGBT+ patients and strengthened the physicians produced by AZCOM. On a greater scale, I was an active part of the AOMA Legislative Affairs committee and advocated for physicians and patients on a legislative level. This was the culmination of physicians being united to improve the circumstances we all face. I continue to try and make the communities I am a part of stronger in countless facets of my life. My instinct to offer a helping hand has guided me throughout my academic career and will continue to push me as a physician.

Elysia Tjong, OMS III at A.T. Still Univeristy - SOMA, Awarded $5,000 Founders' Scholarship

March 4, 2020

Elysia Tjong was born and raised in Reno, Nevada. She studied neuroscience at the University of Nevada, Reno. She was involved in lab research all four years, and presented three posters and an honors thesis in pharmacology. After graduation, she worked as a clinical research associate at Renown Institute for Neurosciences and also as a Scribe Supervisor at Renown Emergency Department. Since being at A.T. Still University – School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona, Elysia has won first place at the school’s Interprofessional Cross-Campus Collaborative Case and was also a part of the Arizona Osteopathic Medical Association Student-Run Osteopathic Community Project Planning Committee, where their project, “Doctors that DO Wellness Pop-Up Exhibit Program” won the Arizona Public Health Association (AzPHA) Health Education Media Maker Yearly Award in 2018. She has continued her interest in research by serving as the Co-Principal Investigator in a research project, which was selected for poster presentation at the National Association of Community Health Centers Community Health Institute & EXPO in August 2019. Elysia has also published several case reports, and plans on being involved in research after she graduates.

Salil Kalarn, OMS III at A.T. Still University - SOMA, Awarded $7,500 Founders' Scholarship

March 4, 2020

Salil Kalarn attended the University of Arizona for undergraduate education where he double-majored in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. He then pursued a master’s degree in Cellular and Molecular Medicine. During his time at University of Arizona, Salil was involved in Oncology research for four years and published two research articles in the field of Oncology. In addition, he participated and organized a public health mission within Tucson and in Central America as a member of Global Medical Brigades. Currently, Salil is pursuing a Doctorate in Osteopathic Medicine from AT Still University. During his first year at A.T. Still University, he was a team leader for the Nutrition and Health Awareness program which is a research and community service program developed by A.T. Still students to provide education to middle school children about nutrition and health. In addition, Salil went to the University of Maryland during summer break to conduct Ophthalmology research and to organize multiple free clinics in downtown Baltimore. In his second year, Salil was an active student tutor as a member of the PALS program and conducted clinical research at the Tucson CHC. This clinical research was accepted to the El Rio/Wright center poster presentation in Tucson Community Health Institute poster presentation in Chicago and published in the Journal for Student Research.

Rochelle Almario, OMS III at Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine - BCOM, Awarded $7,500 Founders' Scholarship

March 4, 2020

Rochelle Almario is a third year medical student at BCOM. At age 13, Rochelle and her family moved from Michigan to Tucson. In 2015, she graduated from the University of Arizona with a BS in Physiology, Cum Laude, and minor in Spanish. During college, Rochelle regularly volunteered with the university’s Mobile Health program whose mission was to provide quality healthcare to the underserved population in Tucson. Rochelle’s experiences with Mobile Health helped her realize her underlying desire to utilize her skills for the benefit of the community. This aspiration of hers remained with Rochelle through medical school as she gained membership into Sigma Sigma Phi, an Honors Fraternity whose goal is to maintain high scholastic excellence and devotion to community service. Rochelle sat on the executive board for the fraternity as Community Service Coordinator. This allowed her to oversee projects as well as participate in several events at the soup kitchen, animal shelter, and local parks for clean-up. Rochelle became more involved with the Las Cruces community during her time mentoring a local elementary school student for two years. Medical school has also given Rochelle the opportunity to hold a teaching position as one of the Musculoskeletal System block tutors. While tutoring, she was able to create lasting relationships with classmates while upholding a team-based learning environment. Overall, Rochelle takes pride in integrating into both the Tucson and Las Cruces communities while achieving 1st quartile rank in her class during the rigors of medical school.

Nancy Phu, OMS III at Burrell College of Osteopathic Medical - BCOM, Awarded $5,000 Founders' Scholarship

March 4, 2020

Nancy Phu is a third year medical student completing her clinical clerkship in Tucson, Arizona. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences from San Jose State University, and after graduation worked as a clinical research associate at Gauss Surgical. She applied her knowledge of medical physiology with statistical analysis to improve the start-up company’s innovative medical software to accurately predict estimated blood loss during obstetric procedures. As part of the second class at a new medical school, Nancy has worked endlessly on several committees to enhance the student learning experience. She advocated for effective teaching time and fair grading systems at academic curriculum meetings. Nancy is also an active member and former executive leader for Sigma Sigma Phi, the honorary osteopathic service fraternity, where she engages members with local community and assists students to complete their membership requirements. She takes pride in setting a record high of over 1,400 community service hours during her term. Nancy organized 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 establishing a partnership with the Blue Cross Blue Shield Care Van Program to provide mobile care to Southern New Mexico. Now as a member of the Pima County Medical Society and Arizona Osteopathic Medical Association, she encourages her colleagues to develop and expand their professional network. Nancy actively participates in research and has published several journals and conferences.

Alana Augur, OMS III at Midwestern University - AZCOM, Awarded $5,000 Founders' Scholarship

March 25, 2019

Alana Augur is a third year medical student at Midwestern University in Glendale Arizona. She matriculated directly from her undergraduate studies at the University of Arizona. There, she completed an Honors degree, majoring in Biology and minoring in Mathematics. Alana completed her honors thesis on Diet Specialization and Generalization Tradeoffs in the Mustard Herbivore Scaptomyza Flava. She was involved in multiple research roles at both the University of Arizona Ecology and Evolutionary Biology department, as well as at the University of Arizona Phoenix College of Medicine.

Jason Hirshberg, OMS III at Midwestern University - AZCOM, Awarded $2,500 Founders' Scholarship

March 25, 2019

Jason grew up in Boulder, Colorado and studied Molecular Biology at the University of Colorado. After graduating in three years at the age of 20, he worked as a research assistant in a lab at Stanford that studied muscle stem cells. Before attending medical school, Jason earned his Master's degree in Reproductive and Cancer Biology from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. There, he graduated at the top of his class, was inducted into the Delta Omega honorary society, and published a paper on autoimmunity. Last year, Jason earned Gold TOUCH recognition for accumulating over 100 hours of community service. He was inducted into the Sigma Sigma Phi osteopathic medicine honorary society in recognition of his leadership potential, academic performance, and passion for addressing disparities in healthcare. As a Paul Ambrose Scholar, Jason developed a tobacco education program for at-risk youth and presented his results at the Association for Prevention Teaching and Research Annual Meeting. Jason earned several Student Government scholarships that helped fund his presentations. Jason was also selected from over 300 medical students to attend the Johns Hopkins Cancer in Underprivileged, Indigent, and Disadvantaged Translational Oncology Program (CUPID). In addition to advocating on Capitol Hill to ensure cancer survivors are not dropped from their insurance plans, his research on adenoviral genomes was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology and in the Public Library of Science. As a member of multiple oncology organizations, Jason is driven to fight cancer in disproportionately affected communities.

Kareem Hamadani, OMS III at A.T. Still Univeristy - SOMA, Awarded $2,500 Founders' Scholarship

March 25, 2019

At UCLA, Kareem was able to accomplish a fair amount both on the individual level and as a member of a variety organizations. Kareem served as Vice President of Recruitment of UCLA's chapter of Phi Delta Epsilon, a pre-medical fraternity. His proudest accomplishment was serving a pivotal role in organizing the fraternity's first ever Anatomy Fashion Show, which helped raise the fraternity over $20,000 for Children's Hospital Los Angeles. As an undergraduate member of the Mobile Clinic Project, Kareem worked with UCLA medical students and attendings to provide healthcare services to downtrodden individuals in West Hollywood once a week, dispensing much needed supplies and medications, while also helping individuals find the resources they needed to get back on their feet. Under the direction of Dr. Emeran Mayer and Dr. Jennifer Labus in the Center for Neurobiology of Stress and Resilience, Kareem was able to serve in a variety of roles including but not limited to the roles of clinical research assistant, MRI technician, and data analyst. While demonstrating his versatility, Kareem was able to add six presentations and two publications to his research resume. Kareem’s focus thus far, as a medical student, has been on academics. Through his first two years, he has consistently achieved at a high level, performing in the top three of his class. Kareem has passed the first set of board examinations for both the USMLE and the COMLEX. Now in his third year, Kareem is aiming to shine during rotations and will continue to seek opportunities to further himself both academically and professionally.

Jennifer McKenna, OMS II at Midwestern University - AZCOM, Awarded $5,000 Founders' Scholarship

March 25, 2019

Jennifer was born and raised in Yuma, Arizona. Her family had moved there for agriculture. While both of her sisters continued the tradition of agriculture related careers, Jennifer was drawn to the medical field since her first anatomy class in high school. Without any physicians in the family, Jennifer took advantage of volunteering and shadowing opportunities in college to learn more about the career. The first doctor she shadowed was a family physician at a community health center; she was so inspired by his genuine attitude and the unique way he interacted with patients. Later she learned that he was a DO! Since being at Midwestern, Jennifer has enjoyed playing flag football with a travel league, volunteering with organizations like Project C.U.R.E., and participating in a variety of clubs. However, the most rewarding experience came with a leadership opportunity. Jennifer has been working alongside a small cohort of Midwestern students and faculty to bring attention to primary care medicine. After attending two national conferences and undergoing a leadership training seminar, their hard work culminated in the form an elective course at AZCOM. This elective course offers an early clinical experience within the primary care setting at Midwestern's multispecialty clinic. The first quarter has recently concluded, and students were excited to be interacting with patients in the Medicare and Medicaid system. They learned about social determinants of health, figured out what areas were not being met for patients in high risk populations, and compiled local resources that might meet some of their specific needs.

Michael Ament, OMS II at A.T. Still University - SOMA, Awarded $5,000 Founders' Scholarship

March 25, 2019

Michael Ament became interested in medicine when he was very young. When Michael started high school, he became fascinated with emergency medicine. He started an EMT course 3 days before graduating high school, then began to volunteer with the Whispering Pines Fire District in Payson, Arizona. This fire background lead him to joining the Arizona Air National Guard in Tucson, Arizona. Michael has served the ANG in Tucson as a firefighter/paramedic for 14 years. After completing basic training for the military, Michael received a full-time position as a firefighter/ EMT with the Superstition Fire and Medical District in Apache Junction, Arizona. While working in this position, he realized that he really enjoyed the medical side of the fire department the most. Michael put himself through paramedic school on his off days while working 56+ hours a week. As a paramedic, Michael realized that practicing medicine is what he wanted to do in life. Michael worked on completing his bachelor’s degree and taking pre-requisite courses for medical school. In 2016, just four months after his twins were born, Michael was deployed to the Middle East. He wanted to be competitive for the next school year, so while working 84 hours a week as a firefighter/paramedic in the Middle East he studied for the MCAT. The military then flew him to Qatar where he was able to take the MCAT. Michael then returned to his deployed location and filled out applications for the medical schools he dreamed of attending.

Kathryn Johnson, OMS III at A.T. Still University - SOMA, Awarded $5,000 Founders' Scholarship

March 25, 2019

Kathryn Johnson was born in San Diego, California and raised in Prescott, Arizona. She attended the University of Arizona where she received a BA in Studio Art and BS in Biology with a biomedical concentration. She worked on two research projects at the University of Arizona Medical Center, one involving cardiothoracic surgery and the other major depressive disorder. After graduation, she was a scribe in an emergency department as well as a tissue procurement technician for LifeLegacy where she took tissues from cadavers for research. In July 2016, Kathryn began medical school at A.T. Still University School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona. She has concurrently volunteered at Yavapai Regional Medical Center Emergency Room in Prescott, Arizona, as well as continued her interest in research through a community project entitled Opioid Excess - Educating Portland Citizens on the Importance of Proper Disposal of Excess Opioid Prescriptions. Other medical school activities include her role as president of the ATSU-SOMA chapter of the American Medical Student Association. She attended the AMSA National Conference in Washington DC where she lobbied for women's health rights. Kathryn is an editor/team member for the SOMA Pulse, the newsletter for SOMA. Her specialties of interest include emergency medicine and anesthesia, but she is keeping an open mind as she continues rotations in her third year of medical school.

Deadline for Trustee Award Applications is March 1!

February 13, 2019

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