President’s Leadership in Diversity Award Winners 2023 | PCOM
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President’s Leadership in Diversity Award 
2023 Recipients

June 9, 2023

In 2020, the Office of Diversity and Community Relations introduced the President's Leadership in Diversity Awards. These prestigious awards aim to acknowledge notable accomplishments of graduating students in our doctoral and graduate programs, who have made distinctive efforts to promote diversity and inclusion at PCOM.

Recipients of these awards have successfully initiated projects, programs, or actions that foster, promote, or exemplify diversity and inclusion within the PCOM community. A committee comprising faculty and staff from all three PCOM locations carefully assesses the nominations.

2023 President's Leadership in Diversity Award Winners

PCOM (Philadelphia, PA)
PCOM Georgia (Suwanee, GA)
PCOM South Georgia (Moultrie, GA)

Learn More About the Award Winners

Alexander Albanese, EDs

Alexander Albanese, EDs, set out to start an effective and structured approach for bilingual evaluations during his internship year at the Cape Henlopen School District. He developed a professional multi disciplined team including two bilingual Speech Pathologists, the English Language Learner Specialist, Reading Specialist, and Special Education coordinator. Every week they meet to develop the bilingual evaluation process, provide educational interventions for teachers with students who speak another language, and coordinate the next best step. Alexander communicated with families, interpreted special education meetings, and described the process in simple terms so that they could understand and advocate in their role as a parent and also part of the decision to accept or deny special education services. Alexander hopes to develop a model for the rest of the state of Delaware to improve upon the quality of education for those who don’t speak English and connect more fully with families so that they feel included in their child’s education.

Renee Burns, MS/ODL

As a sign language interpreter, Renee Burns, MS/ODL, works to increase access, equity, and inclusion for a very diverse population: the Deaf and hard of hearing (DHoH) community. Renee chose the Organizational Development and Leadership (ODL) program at PCOM because she sought to complement her interpreting skills and connections to the DHoH community with a program from which she could learn to make even more of a difference. Renee was able to bring a unique perspective and wealth of knowledge to each class and assignment, hopefully spreading awareness to PCOM’s students, faculty, and staff about a community often overlooked by DEI. The focus of her capstone, as well as many of her projects for the ODL program, have focused on disability justice and illustrating the countless benefits of partnering with the DHoH community. She plan to use what she learned at PCOM to further develop organizations and improve their accessibility for all. 

Nicole “Zlata” Demcenko, MS/MHC

As charity and program coordinator for Psi Chi, Nicole “Zlata” Demcenko, MS/MHC, focused on establishing connections with local nonprofit organizations, including Mitzvah Circle Foundation. Zlata believes in speaking up against discriminatory messages even in uncomfortable situations. Zlata hopes to continue working in community mental health to deliver dignified services to diverse populations.

Heidi Elthanan, MS/Biomed

Heidi Elthanan’s, MS/Biomed, passion has always been to serve as an advocate for minority and marginalized populations which is why she served as an executive board member on SNMA’s Cultural Competency Program this academic year. The Cultural Competency Program is a student led initiative to address the social determinants of health and their impact on patient care. This year she assisted in creating two Cultural Humility in Medicine weeks where they focused on mental health issues impacting women worldwide, microaggressions Muslim patients face, disability advocacy, and queer voices in the AAPI community.

Tyasia Guadalupe, DO

During her time at PCOM, Tyasia Guadalupe, DO, served as the Co-President of Global Health Initiative, the Diversity Chair on the DO Student Council, the PCOM Student Diversity Ambassador for COSGP, Diversity Co-Chair for SNMA, an Executive Member of the Cultural Competency Program Board, and as the Region VIII Research Liaison for SNMA. Through her leadership positions, Tyasia has championed a variety of diversity and inclusion efforts at PCOM, including organizing and establishing PCOM’s First Cultural Humility in Medicine Week, which is currently in its third year.

Simone Sims-Riley, PsyD

Simone Sims-Riley, PsyD, has worked in the mental health field for eight years in various capacities. Throughout her career, she has focused on serving diverse populations with the intent to destigmatize mental health treatment in communities of color. Furthermore, Simone volunteers her therapy services with Black Men Heal to provide free therapy to black men in her community. Lastly, Simone continues to advocate for community involvement in all mental health resources to increase accessibility and affordability for all.

Jordyn Walker, MS/PA

Jordyn Walker, MS/PA, is a graduating biracial physician assistant student who recognizes the value of allyship and diversity in medicine, both in and out of the classroom. She is passionate about providing quality health care to patients in underserved populations. Over her years studying at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Ms. Walker advocated for diverse teaching staff and inclusive language to be used in lecture content. Ms. Walker served as Treasurer on the PCOM Student Chapter of American Academy of Physician Assistants, also called Sara Somers Rupert Student Society, while organizing fundraisers to increase accessibility of additional medical resources and question banks to students in her cohort. In her free time, she also maintains an Instagram page in which she shares her experience as a PA student and provides free mentorship for students pursuing the physician assistant career.

Arthur Few, PharmD

Arthur Few, PharmD, personal mission as a healthcare professional is to serve the underserved and discarded community. That community is one that he was born into. It’s a birthright that he leaves it better than it was for him and better for those to come. During his time at PCOM, Arthur was a lead mentor for the PCOM Opportunities Academy.

Onachukwu Nwolisa, MS/Biomed

Coming into PCOM as an immigrant, Onachukwu Nwolisa, MS/Biomed, strived to join various leadership positions where she could extend services that showcased diversity, equity and inclusion. As a treasurer in the Student Organization Council and a member of the Ethics Committee, she worked to advocate for her colleagues and different organizations advancing diversity and equity. Onachukwu worked as a student mentor during the Opportunities Academy last summer where they showcased the different opportunities in STEM to select high school students. She is also working with the Office of Diversity and Community Partnerships to create an event catered to Africans in the Diaspora.

Donald Onyeanula, DPT

During his tenure at PCOM, Donald Onyeanula was involved in many organizations and leadership positions where he impacted the diversity, equity and inclusion at the College. He made it his mission to change the statistics of African American physical therapists in the United States. To change that narrative, he joined the Minority in Mentorship Program. He used the knowledge and resources he obtained from the program to take on aspiring African American physical therapists looking to apply to school under his tutelage. He provided guidance and resources that he did not have when he applied for school. He took the initiative to take not one but two African American students in the DPT as mentees and ensured they had the proper resources, guidance, and encouragement to succeed and matriculate in the program. He also became a student ambassador for the program to ensure that everyone who entered those doors was welcomed and experienced the same feeling of belonging that he had when he stepped into the building for the first time.

Emerson West, DO

Throughout his time at PCOM Georgia, Emerson West, DO, had the opportunity to become involved with several organizations and councils that served not only the PCOM family but also members of his community. He was the President of the PCOM Medical Alliance club on campus, as well as a member and Secretary for the LGBTQIA Council. During these endeavors he helped provide outreach events, establish educational reform, and further volunteer opportunities for students and staff alike. 

Jasmine Rogers, DO

Jasmine Rogers, DO, established the inaugural Student National Medical Association (SNMA) chapter at PCOM South Georgia—a nationally recognized, student-run organization for underrepresented minorities in medicine. She also served as a student team leader and a mentor for the Science and Math Summer Academy. This two-week program introduces underrepresented high school students to medical, health, and science career possibilities. Furthermore, Dr. Rogers spoke at the 2022 International Association of Medical Science Educators (IAMSE) annual conference about what inclusive medicine looks like to her. Her topic was “Breaking Down Barriers: Working Towards A Physician Workforce that Reflects the General Population,” which the abstract was later published in the Medical Science Educator. Learn more about Jasmine Rogers, DO.