LMU-DCOM student receives Sherry R. Arnstein minority scholarship

Published 12:06 pm Tuesday, July 23, 2019

HARROGATE, Tenn. — Andrew Villaseñor, a fourth-year osteopathic medical student at Lincoln Memorial University-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine (LMU-DCOM) has been awarded a 2019 Sherry R. Arnstein Minority Scholarship in the amount of $5,000.

The annual scholarship is awarded to two minority osteopathic students per year, one first-year student and one continuing, who show a commitment to raising awareness about diversity. The award is open to eligible applicants across the United States attending one of the 30 colleges accredited by the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM). It is named in honor of former AACOM Executive Director Sherry R. Arnstein.

“We are so proud of Andrew’s accomplishments and everything he has done while at LMU-DCOM,” said Dr. Brian A. Kessler, vice president and dean of LMU-DCOM. “He is a great representation of this institution and we know he will go on to do great things in the field of osteopathic medicine.”

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Students competing for the award must be from an underrepresented minority group (African-American; Native American, Alaska Native, or Native Hawaiian; mainland Puerto Rican, or Hispanic) and in good academic standing. They must submit an essay that addresses how osteopathic medical schools might increase minority enrollments and how they, personally, plan to contribute to the future diversification of the student body.

“Being a first-generation medical student with parents who immigrated to the United States, I knew I wanted to become an advocate for those who seem to be underrepresented in the health care field,” said Villaseñor. “From a young age, I knew taking care of individuals as a physician would be the best way I could exercise my ability to support those who are underserved.”

In his essay, Villaseñor was asked to describe a significant challenge he experienced as an underrepresented minority medical student and ideas for helping others overcome similar challenges.

“A specific challenge that I faced as a minority medical student was finding mentors that were advocates for underrepresented minorities,” said Villaseñor. “I joined the National Hispanic Medical Association to find mentorship opportunities.”

In addition, Villaseñor joined other medical students in forming LMU-DCOM’s Latino Medical Students Association. He said, “The Latino Medical Students Association gave me the chance to collaborate and meet different students who are interested in similar goals that I have.”

One of Villaseñor’s proudest accomplishments is helping to establish a minority specific scholarship through Bella Soul, a non-profit with a mission to empower college students confronting chronic illness or disability through scholarships and emotional support. Villaseñor serves as the vice president of the organization and presented minority specific scholarships in 2017 and 2018.

Villaseñor is also helping to coordinate a Disability Day event at LMU-DCOM. He and fellow fourth-year osteopathic medical student Shannon Strader have worked to incorporate a disability specific curriculum into the program and have partnered with the Tennessee Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities as well as other leaders for the project. During the event, LMU-DCOM and other health care profession students will hear from experts of the field and participate in activities to learn about how to care for patients with disabilities.

Villaseñor will graduate in May 2020 and plans to specialize in physical medicine and rehabilitation.

“Between my passion for living an active lifestyle, representing underserved patients and caring for patients with physical and emotional disabilities, I believe being an osteopathic physician will be a very rewarding field,” said Villaseñor. “I would like to further the field of osteopathic medicine by advocating for those who are underserved with different abilities.”

The DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine is located on the campus of Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee. LMU-DCOM is an integral part of LMU’s values-based learning community, and is dedicated to preparing the next generation of osteopathic physicians to provide health care in the often underserved region of Appalachia and beyond. For more information about LMU-DCOM, call 1.800.325.0900, ext. 7082, email dcom@LMUnet.edu, or visit us online at http://med.LMUnet.edu.