Two medical students at Western University of Health Sciences (WesternU)

have been selected to receive a national award for their commitment to

helping underserved or minority populations.

The students, Nancy Baker of Las Vegas and Mary Ann Erickson of Loma

Linda, are both in their fourth and final year of study at WesternU’s

College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific and anticipate receiving

their doctor of osteopathic medicine degrees in June. Baker is completing

a medical rotation in the osteopathic and cranial manipulation department

of a private practice in Provo, Utah, and Erickson is on rotation in the

pediatrics department of the Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton.

The award they have won-the Zeneca Pharmaceuticals Underserved Healthcare

Grant-is distributed annually by the American Osteopathic Foundation to

two medical students across the nation. As this year’s winners, Baker and

Erickson will each receive a $4,000 grant. In return, they must write

about their experience working with an underserved population one year

after they are established in private practice. Their papers will be

submitted to the medical trade press for publication to encourage other

students to serve this population.

“”I was raised in Africa and grew up with rural medicine, and that really

influenced my decision to practice in that area,”” Baker said. “”I’d like to

practice in a city with a population of 5,000 or below and spend one month

a year as a traveling physician doing missionary work.””

Erickson has very similar goals.

“”I have empathy for people who don’t have what they need, and I feel that

by serving the underserved, practicing osteopathic medicine, I will have a

satisfying life and be able to give something of value to people who are

in need,”” she said.

According to Leda Hanin, executive director of the American Osteopathic

Foundation, Baker and Erickson were selected for the Zeneca grant from a

pool of close to 20 applicants.

“”Both Nancy and Mary Ann demonstrate in their practice and their lives

what this award is about. That’s why they met our criteria better than all

this year’s applicants,”” she said. “”They both have a great commitment to

the osteopathic profession, and show outstanding dedication to underserved

populations. They are very impressive applicants.””

The Zeneca Pharmaceuticals Underserved Healthcare Grant aims to encourage

osteopathic medical students to practice in underserved or minority

populations. It was established in 1995 through a generous gift from

Zeneca Pharmaceuticals.