President’s Leadership in Diversity Award Winners 2021


June 15, 2021

About the President's Leadership in Diversity Award

The Office of Diversity and Community Relations launched the President’s Leadership in Diversity Awards in 2020. These awards recognize significant achievements of graduating students from our doctoral and graduate programs who have made unique contributions to advance diversity and inclusion at PCOM.

Award recipients have implemented initiatives which cultivate, advance or model diversity and inclusion within the PCOM community. Nominees are evaluated by a committee representing faculty and staff from each of our three locations using the following criteria:

  1. Commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, including but not limited to: establishment of an annual event or program, community outreach or engagement, providing a distinctive service to the PCOM Community, research to advance diversity and inclusion in medicine.
  2. Sustainability of an above mentioned initiative.
  3. Ability to engage others in diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.
  4. Be in good academic standing.

2021 President's Leadership in Diversity Award Winners

PCOM students

Veronica Pham, MS/PA Studies

Veronica Pham’s passion for diversity started early on when she recognized from personal experience how a language barrier can prevent patients from accessing health care. During her rotations, she’s made connections with several patients based on the fact that speaks to them in their native Vietnamese language. She served as the student diversity committee representative of the PCOM chapter of the Student Academy of the AAPA. Through this leadership position, she is a champion for service, inclusion and diversity.

Ashley Smith, PsyD

Ashley Smith is a leader for diversity, equity and inclusion at PCOM. She served as the community service coordinator and a recruitment member of Culturally Aware Psychology Students (CAPS). She also serves on the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion workgroup as a student representative. Dr. Smith is involved with the Healthy Monks Research project, which serves the Laotian community in Philadelphia. Her dissertation research focused on Addressing the Cultural Considerations of African Americans in Interdisciplinary Care. Outside of PCOM, Ms. Smith is the project co-lead of WiSTEM2D with Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. This initiative focuses on introducing young girls to STEM careers.

Janet Nwaukoni, DO

Janet Nwaukoni's passion for diversity, equity, and inclusion impacted both PCOM and the Philadelphia community. As co-president of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA) she hosted a student diversity brunch, participated in HPREP, and co-founded Doctors Redefining Limits. Doctor’s Redefining Limits aims to increase awareness of Osteopathic Medicine in African countries through education, cultural competency, and service. This was done via a two week service trip to Ghana. Outside of PCOM, Dr. Nwaukoni works with the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium providing COVID-19 tests, vaccines, and flu vaccines. View Dr. Nwaukoni's PCOM graduate profile.

Mashaal Syed, MS/Biomed

Serving in a “connector” role for the Neighbors Helping Neighbors Mutual Aid Initiative, Mashaal Syed was responsible for connecting with the hundred of individuals who sought support from the initiative. She also worked to solicit donations and fulfill the needs of individuals. This experience opened her eyes to socioeconomic disparities heightened via the global pandemic. Additionally, Ms. Syed has participated in several volunteer initiatives including the Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP), Japan Exchange and Teaching Program (JET) and Drexel University’s IKI Cultural exchange program.

PCOM Georgia students

Kristi Anderson, DO

Kristi Anderson is a true servant leader and foundation creator. She has created road maps for others to build and thrive as change agents. Kristi served as the vice president of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA) where she worked diligently alongside her team to push for programming to highlight the importance of mentorship for black students not only in medicine but also biomedical sciences. Kristi helped to create the initial template for medical Spanish that has now grown into a three campus initiative created by Jeisson Garcia. Kristi also believes in community service and pushed that vision to her SNMA team by supporting the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) with the largest Making Strides event sponsored by the American Cancer Society in Gwinnett County and participating in the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Annual Event sponsored by the United Ebony Society.

Jeffrey Clark, PharmD

Jeffery Clark has been at the forefront of diversity and inclusion within the PCOM pharmacy program and at the national level. He served as the president of the Student Society of Health System Pharmacists, where he created more opportunities for students to gain leadership skills within the organization. Dr. Clark was also appointed to the inaugural diversity, equity and inclusion task force within the American Society of Health System Pharmacists. As one of two students on this prestigious committee, he was able to effect lasting change at the national level. Learn more about Jeffrey Clark, PharmD and his involvement with the student pharmacist community.

Jeisson Garcia, MS/Biomed

Jeisson Garcia’s leadership in diversity and inclusion spans his time at PCOM. He quickly joined the PCOM Georgia Diversity Council and Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA). He served as President of the LMSA and Chief of Development Officer for the Southeast region of LMSA. Jeisson is the founder and director of the Medical Spanish Initiative Committee, which includes all academic programs at PCOM Georgia. He taught a four part medical Spanish course with seventy students in attendance.

Jana Burchette, DPT

Jana Burchette is a leader in diversity, equity and inclusion at PCOM and the larger physical therapy community. Dr. Burchette served as chair of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Taskforce for the American Physical Therapy Association – Georgia Chapter. She led the taskforce to become one of the first state chapters to create bylaws and a diversity, equity and inclusion director to sit on the executive board. At PCOM Georgia, she gave students in the physical therapy program a voice by working with faculty to facilitate focus groups to improve diversity, equity and inclusion in the academic program.

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