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AMASA Scholarships Help Students Achieve a Dream

AMASA Scholarships Help Students Achieve a Dream

Pictured from left in the photo are Michael Brisson, Masheika James, Stephanie Arana and James Coley.

The winners of the 2018 AMASA Medical Student Scholarships have been announced. The AMASA Medical Student Scholarship Fund was established in 2012 by the Alliance to the Medical Association of the State of Alabama in partnership with the Medical Foundation of Alabama to assist rising senior medical students with the financial responsibilities that inevitably accompany their senior year of medical school. Through fundraising events and memorial contributions, AMASA is able to present multiple awards ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 at the annual meeting of the Medical Foundation of Alabama in April of each year.

It is with great pride that we awarded the following four candidates the 2018 AMASA Medical Student Scholarships, and we wish them all the best with the hope this monetary award helps them accomplish their goals:

Stephanie Arana, Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine

Stephanie, a native of Madison, is a child of first-generation immigrants. At a young age, her mother instilled in her the value of education, hard work, and striving for excellence, which led her on her path to the medical field. After completing her first year of medical school, Stephanie realized she was lacking in essential areas needed for the field of medicine: understanding others, empathetic nature, and passion. She used this realization to motivate her to serve the underserved population of Chicago to regain the concepts she was lacking. Participating in this opportunity helped Stephanie to learn how to balance her world of endless knowledge and her world of sacrifice, dedication and humility.

Stephanie is currently a student at the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine where she has served in many capacities, including ACOM Ambassador, National Medical Scholarships Peer Mentor, and ACOM Student D.O. of the Year. She plans to use the scholarship assistance to obtain audition rotations throughout the State of Alabama in hopes of solidifying a residency opportunity in state.

Michael Brisson, Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine

Michael, a native of Enterprise, sees the unique relationship that primary care medicine has with the United States military and the osteopathic field. He has had the opportunity to work closely with primary care physicians during his career as an Aeromedical Evacuation Officer in the Alabama Army National Guard. The level of expertise and compassion these physicians bring to the National Guard and the rural communities they serve inspired Michael to pursue a career in primary care medicine.

Michael is currently at the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine in Auburn, and he resides in Enterprise with his wife and two children. Michael believes his medical school is preparing him to fill the critical need for physicians practicing in rural areas, and he plans to use his experiences as an active duty and National Guard medical officer, combat MEDEVAC pilot, and seasoned critical care paramedic to commit himself to the field of primary care in rural Alabama.

James Coley, Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine

James, a native of Montgomery, realized his dream of pursuing medicine in high school. His dream became a reality after observing, shadowing and learning from Oncologists and other team members at the Montgomery Cancer Center. During his time pursuing his undergraduate degree at the University of South Alabama, James participated in several leadership positions and programs focused on health and the medical field. Not only did his time at USA reinforce his desire to pursue a medical career, it also allowed him the opportunity to meet his wife.

James is currently a student at VCOM in Auburn. J. Danielle McCullough, Assistant Professor at VCOM, said of him, “While keenly invested in his own career development, James also continues to concentrate his efforts and prioritize the needs of others, especially those less fortunate that he…his altruistic efforts demonstrate his commitment to the VCOM mission of preparing community-focused physicians to meet the needs of underserved populations.”

Masheika James, University of South Alabama College of Medicine

Masheika, a native of Birmingham, defied the odds of her childhood by pursuing a second doctorate degree after graduating from a poverty-stricken high school in Birmingham with limited role models. After becoming a parent at the age of 18 and raising her daughter as a single mother, Masheika became even more motivated to prepare a better future for her daughter and become a professor in pediatrics.

A colleague from the University of Alabama at Birmingham said of Masheika, “She is very resilient and has overcome many challenges and adverse circumstances in her personal life and early educational background that would have crumbled the resolve of many other individuals.”

Masheika is currently at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine in Mobile. Throughout her college experiences, Masheika encountered very few minority professors, let alone women, in the sciences. This revelation urged her to pursue a career in higher education to serve as a role model for future minority high school students as well as minority college undergraduates.

Donations to the Scholarship Program can be sent to AMASA Treasurer Mary Beth Lloyd, 5949 Crestwood Circle, Birmingham, AL 35212. Donations may now be made directly to the AMASA Scholarship Fund from retirement accounts.

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AMASA Scholarships Help Students Achieve a Dream

AMASA Scholarships Help Students Achieve a Dream

The AMASA Medical Student Scholarship Fund was established in 2012 to assist rising senior medical students. The scholarship is intended to aid students with financial responsibilities concomitant with interviews and travel in their senior year of medical school. This scholarship is made possible by the Alliance to the Medical Association of the State of Alabama through fundraising events and by general and memorial contributions. Multiple awards of at least $1,000 and up to $10,000 are presented at the annual meeting of the Medical Foundation of Alabama in April of each year.

This year, 19 students applied for the scholarships, and four were chosen to receive funds. It is with great pride that we awarded the following four candidates the 2017 AMASA Medical Student Scholarships, and we wish them all the best with the hope this monetary award helps them accomplish their goals:

Elijah Rogers, Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine

Elijah, a native of Dothan, has led an indirect path toward the field of medicine, but it was always his lifelong goal. After graduating from Auburn University, he felt medical school would put too much stress on his relationships and would not be possible, so he worked as an environmental scientist for the State of Alabama. He married right after graduating from Auburn, and he became restless and unfulfilled in his career goals a few years after graduating. So, after soul searching and talking to his wife, he decided to quit his job and go to medical school.

Elijah is currently at the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine, and he and his wife have two children. Though hectic, he felt more balanced in medicine and has excelled. He has a stellar academic record and though he spends most of his time outside of school studying and raising his children, he still carves out time to volunteer doing health screenings in his community.His friend wrote to AMASA and said of him, “Elijah is driven by what is right, not blind ambition.” He hopes to pursue a career in general surgery, and we are honored to help him reach his goal: “To provide for my family; to refine my natural abilities and knowledge in order to apply them to challenging problems, and to serve my community with compassion and bless others as I have been blessed.”

His friend wrote to AMASA and said of him, “Elijah is driven by what is right, not blind ambition.” He hopes to pursue a career in general surgery, and we are honored to help him reach his goal: “To provide for my family; to refine my natural abilities and knowledge in order to apply them to challenging problems, and to serve my community with compassion and bless others as I have been blessed.”

Gerard Holder, Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine

Gerard is a native of Huntsville, and is currently at the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine. Though he is early in his training and career, Gerard has already contributed to a great deal of medical research and has an impressive number of publications. He continues to serve his community by participating in Feeding the Gulf Coast as a nutrition assistant, helping educate low-income and at-risk families on healthy eating habits and proper nutrition. He also takes time out of his studies to mentor other students at ACOM and helps them on their paths to becoming physicians.

Gerard is a first-generation college graduate, and he has risen out of a high-risk community. He aspires to train in Medicine or Medicine/Pediatrics and then specialize in Hematology/Oncology. He hopes he can make a large positive contribution to cancer research in his career as a physician.

Amber Dixon, University of Alabama School of Medicine

Amber is an extremely accomplished medical student at The University of Alabama School of Medicine. In addition to excelling in academics and patient care throughout her medical school career, Amber served as the vice president of the Student National Medical Association and secretary of the Global Health Interest Group. She is also coordinator Women in Medicine, where she connects female medical students with female physicians in the area for mentoring, networking and education.Amber is a first-generation college

Amber is a first-generation college student, and writes that most of her friends from her hometown of Kinsey did not go to college. She uses her life experience to encourage students to stay in school and reach their goals. She plans to train in Psychiatry and practice in an underserved area to give her future patients access to care that might be a struggle for them.

Luke Iannuzzi, University of Alabama School of Medicine

Luke is a native of Auburn and attended the University of Kentucky for undergrad. He is married and currently a student at The University of Alabama School of Medicine where he has excelled in research and volunteerism in the field of Pediatrics. He is a member of the Learning Environment Council and the Psychiatry Chair of the Service Learning Committee, in which he helps organize community service projects for medical students. In addition to research and publications, Luke serves as the Vice Chair of the Black Warrior Perinatal Community Action Team, which helped develop and implement strategies to improve perinatal health in Tuscaloosa and surrounding counties. Luke strives to see the entire picture of the patient and treat the whole person, therefore he would like to pursue a career in Family Medicine. He wants to continually strive to do the absolute best for his patients, and we at AMASA have confidence he will do just that.

The Scholarship award process was facilitated by Committee Chair Marie Schneider, Madison County, and Committee members Donna Shergy, Madison County; Karen Alford, Mobile County; and Trudie Sierafi, Montgomery.

Donations to the Scholarship Program can be sent to AMASA Treasurer Mary Beth Lloyd, 5949 Crestwood Circle, Birmingham, AL 35212. In the fall, there will be a plan in place for donations to be made directly to the AMASA Scholarship Fund from retirement accounts.

Article contributed by the Alliance to the Medical Association of the State of Alabama

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