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2015 Minority Scholars Award Recipients

Sherifatu Abu

Sherifatu Abu

Tufts University School of Medicine
Sherifatu Abu graduated from The City College of New York where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry. Prior to beginning medical school, she worked alongside the Director of Family Medicine at Bronx Lebanon Hospital to develop a nonprofit outreach initiative that focused on improving the self esteem of adolescent females living in an underserved community in the Bronx. While at Tufts, Ms. Abu became an active member of the Multicultural Fellow Council and co-president of the Student National Medical Association.

Janetta Lorenza Arellano

Janetta Lorenza Arellano

University of Washington School of Medicine
Janetta L. Arellano is a second-year medical student pursuing a career in pediatrics. Her interest is in promoting health care for Latino minorities by reducing the barriers associated with adequate treatment. Ms. Arellano is the current co-chair for the UW Chapter of the Latino Medical Student Association and the Pediatric Interest Group. While working with residents at Seattle Children’s Hospital, she founded the Pediatric Physical Exam Workshop and the Pediatric Resident Panel events. As a third-year medical student, Ms. Arellano will serve as a LMSA-West Regional board member.

Baaba Blankson

Baaba Blankson

Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine
Baaba Blankson is a third-year medical student at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine (VCU SOM). An avid advocate for global health equality, she founded the Ghana Rural Outreach Sustainability and Engagement (R.O.S.E) Organization. This organization partners with the Apam Catholic Hospital to send student volunteers and certified professionals to provide health care in the rural parts of the Apam community. She received the VCU SOM student leadership award nomination.

Bethany Carlos

Bethany Carlos

Medical University of South Carolina, College of Medicine
Bethany Carlos is a first-year medical student at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. She completed her Master of Public Health training at the University of South Carolina with a focus in maternal and child health disparities, particularly infant prematurity. Through her roles in the College of Medicine Public Health Interest Group, Student National Medical Association, One80 Place Night Clinic, and the Public Health Task Force, Ms. Carlos plans to continue to bridge the gap between clinical practice and public health.

Evelyn Escobedo Pol

Evelyn Escobedo Pol

PRIME-UCLA, David Geffen School of Medicine
As a second-year medical student, Evelyn Escobedo Pol has had the opportunity to continue her passion for civic service, social justice and medicine. One of her proudest accomplishments in medical school has been to give back to the city of Lennox, a predominantly Latino neighborhood undersourced in medical services and the city where she grew up, as a member of the board of the Lennox Health Fair. She looks forward to pursuing an MD/MPP dual degree to develop her training not only to be a physician leader, but an advocate equipped with the tools necessary to progress words and ideas into courses of action.

Dagoberto Estevez Ordonez

Dagoberto Estevez Ordonez

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
Dagoberto Estevez is a second-year medical student with interests in brain tumors, cancer, global health, surgery, and academic medicine. In medical school, Mr. Estevez Ordonez has been involved in research for sickle cell disease, traumatic brain injuries, and trauma fractures leading to several presentations, and has co-authored a publication currently under review. He is the recipient of a Fogarty NIH sponsored grant, and will spend a year in Honduras aiding a clinical trial conducting gastric cancer research.

Amber Gardner

Amber Gardner

University of Arizona College of Medicine – Pheonix
Amber Gardner received her undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of California, Berkeley where she was a transfer recruitment coordinator for the Native American Recruitment and Retention Center. Her current passion lies in helping the uninsured in the Phoenix community through night clinics at the Wesley Community Clinic. Ms. Gardner has helped organize clinic simulation activities with the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization. She also serves as a mentor to area high school students who are applying to college in order to pursue careers in health care. Additionally, her research interests include neuropsychiatry and functional imaging.

Kenyetta Givans

Kenyetta Givans

Cooper Medical School of Rowan University
Kenyetta Givans is a second-year medical student with an interest in preventative medicine pursuing a career in primary care, specifically in underserved populations. As a medical student Ms. Givans has co-founded the Camden Prenatal Collaborative, an advocacy program for disadvantaged pregnant mothers in Camden, NJ. She was the lead student organizer for Cooper Medical School's annual MLK Day of Service and she is on the executive board of the Student National Medical Association, an organization that supports and encourages underreppresented students interested in medicine.

Jasmine Reneé Holmes

Jasmine Reneé Holmes

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Jasmine Holmes is a second-year medical student whose undergraduate and postgraduate experiences have been defined by a commitment to public service. Ms. Holmes has worked with a number of youth programs to foster longitudinal mentorships and has held chapter and regional leadership positions in the Student National Medical Association. Recently, Ms. Holmes worked with the Ruth H. Fertel Community Health Center, training community volunteers as health workers to help bridge the cultural divide that often acts as a barrier to access to care.

Jose Miguel Juarez

Jose Miguel Juarez

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Jose Juarez completed his bachelor’s degree in physics and mathematics at the College of the Holy Cross. Mr. Juarez volunteers as a paramedic for Operation Safety Net, providing medical services to the homeless in Pittsburgh. He is also a coordinator and medical translator for SALUD Clinic, a free clinic committed to helping the Spanish-speaking community of Pittsburgh. Mr. Juarez plans to continue volunteering and advocating for all those who do not have access to health care.

Nadia Kamagate

Nadia Kamagate

Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine
Nadia Kamagate is pursuing a career in academic surgery. Ms. Kamagate also wishes to continue her work both in research and public service, focusing primarily on global and cultural health care disparities. She has done extensive work on improving health care within minority populations in underserved areas. As a first generation African immigrant, Ms. Kamagate’s work specifically targets first and second generation African immigrants.

Kendrick Kennedy

Kendrick Kennedy

Medical University of South Carolina, College of Medicine
Kendrick Kennedy graduated from the University of South Carolina Aiken with a Bachelor of Science in nursing. He was a Registered Nurse for four years prior to his matriculation into medical school. Most recently, Mr. Kennedy served as the Interim Director of Cardiovascular Nursing at Aiken Regional Medical Centers located in Aiken, S.C. Mr. Kennedy is pursuing a career in cardiology, with a special focus on the disparities that exist among minority populations in the realm of cardiovascular health.

Imani McElroy

Imani McElroy

Charles R. Drew University / David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Imani McElroy earned her undergraduate degree in biological sciences from the University of California, Irvine. She has a strong interest in underserved populations and currently works on a readmissions reduction initiative to lower post surgical readmissions at Ronald Reagan Medical Center. Ms. McElroy has organized and participated in numerous community events, including a holiday gift drive for a local group home, a podiatry clinic for the local homeless population and local community health fairs.

Karen Mendez, MPH

Karen Mendez, MPH

New York Medical College
Karen Mendez is a second-year medical student at New York Medical College. She obtained a Bachelor of Science in health promotion and disease prevention and Master of Public Health degree at the University of Southern California. Ms. Mendez is interested in reducing health disparities by developing sustainable interventions in partnership with different industries. She is a Diverse Medical Scholar of the National Medical Fellowships and a member of the Class of 2017 Chairman's Roundtable on Leadership and Health Policy.

Emeka Okafor

Emeka Okafor

The University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine Ronald M. Davis, MD Award Recipient
Emeka Okafor is a first-year medical student pursuing a career in global health and community outreach. His passions include service within international medical clinics and working with underpriviledged youth. Mr. Okafor is currently the chair of Dean's Council (medical school student governance), co-president of REMEDY(an international service group), volunteer coordinator for Health Professions Recruitment and Exposure Program (HPREP) and a mentor to at-risk youth through the Chicago Youth Program and S4 (South Side Science Scholars.

María de Fátima Reyes

María de Fátima Reyes

Keck School of Medicine of University of Southern California
María de Fátima Reyes is a second-year medical student at Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. During her first year of medical school, she launched a randomized control trial assessing the use of mindfulness practices and language adequate patient education and its effects on physiologic and psychological stress. Ms. Reyes is excited to begin her clinical education at USC+LAC Medical Center and looks forward to helping provide healthcare for underserved areas in Los Angeles.

Franklyn Rocha-Cabrero

Franklyn Rocha-Cabrero

University of Illinois College of Medicine-Rockford
Franklyn Rocha-Cabrero completed his bachelor’s degree at the University of Puerto Rico-Recinto Universitario de Mayaguez with a double major in industrial microbiology and biology. He is an active leader of the Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA) National Board where he currently serves as an External Policy Liaison and was recently appointed Vice-President of Policy. Mr. Rocha Cabrero has worked extensively with the Hispanic Serving Health Profession Schools (HSHPS), the Student National Medical Association (SNMA), and the American Medical Association (AMA), among others to advocate for Latino health policy.

Isabelle M. Sanchez, MPH

Isabelle M. Sanchez, MPH

University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine
Isabelle Sanchez received her Master of Public Health from Emory University, focusing on epidemiology and global health. Ms. Sanchez worked with farmers in rural Thailand, participated in medical brigades to Honduras, and conducted influenza surveillance in Kenya. She is a second-year medical student and currently volunteers at community clinics and health fairs in South Chicago. In addition, she is actively involved with the Latino Medical Student Association and is implementing a project at a community health center in Los Angeles.

Mary Tate

Mary Tate

Harvard Medical School
Mary Tate is currently pursuing a career in obstetrics and gynecology. She served as the president of her Student National Medical Assocation chapter and hosted the region's medical education conference which raised over $25,000 and exposed over 200 students to mentors in medicine. Additionally, she co-founded a program called Pathways to Medicine to support underrepresented groups at her alma mater, Dartmouth College. As a recipient of the Abundance Agents of Change Grant, Ms. Tate is currently working on expanding a program she co-founded and piloted called MOMS - -Medical Student Offering Maternal Support.

Jorge Torres

Jorge Torres

The David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA
Jorge Torres received his Bachelor’s Degree from UC Berkeley in molecular and cell biology with an emphasis in immunology. Mr. Torres became a patient advocate for children with neuromuscular diseases during his volunteer service at the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Mr. Torres spent three years conducting biomedical research relevant to type 2 diabetes and muscular disease at UCSF. This year Mr. Torres was selected as a Minority Scholars recipient from the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) and as a GE-NHMA Medical Student Health Scholar from the National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA).

Denise M. Kimbrough, Ph.D.

Denise M. Kimbrough, Ph.D.

Medical University of South Carolina, College of Medicine
Dr. Richard Allen Williams and Genita Evangelista Johnson/Association of Black Cardiologists Award Recipient
Denise Kimbrough earned her Bachelors of Science degree in biomedical engineering with a minor in chemistry from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She earned her Doctorate of Philosophy from the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in biomedical sciences with a focus in cardiovascular biology. She is currently a Society of Vascular Surgery summer research Fellow and has just completed her first year of medical school at MUSC. Ms. Kimbrough would like to use her education to improve treatment for coronary artery stenosis using therapies that address genetics and epigenetics.