Akila Raja, MS (DO ’21) Awarded Mason W. Pressly Memorial MedalJanuary 19, 2021
Ms. Raja has devoted her time at PCOM Georgia to volunteering with young people and
advocating for the osteopathic profession. She is working to become a pediatrician.
Akila Raja, MS (DO ’21) was recently named PCOM Georgia’s 2021 Mason W. Pressly Memorial
Medal recipient, an award that is given to one graduating Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine student at each of PCOM’s campuses. She said, "I'm humbled and honored to be selected as the Mason Pressly Award recipient
Calling her four years of medical school “transformative,” she said her experiences
bring to mind the types of accomplishments she will strive to achieve during her medical
career. “I hope to continue serving my community, embracing all opportunities to advocate
for others, and fostering a nurturing environment within the medical community that
breeds confident and compassionate physicians," she said.
A native of Canada whose parents moved to Florida when she was in first grade, Raja
has spent her time at PCOM Georgia working to promote healthcare advocacy and professional
opportunities for her fellow students. Her interest in addiction medicine led to her
development and leadership of a campus-wide substance dependence educational event
Partially funded by the D’Alonzo Fund, which is given each year to a student whose
goal is to host a project that will benefit the community, the event, called The Road to Recovery: Substance Dependence Awareness and Advocacy, attracted more than 100 faculty members and students from all programs. Panelists
from across Georgia shared their personal and professional stories related to substance
use and its treatment.
She also rose to leadership posts in student organizations, including serving as vice
president of the Sigma Sigma Phi honors fraternity and regional director of PCOM Georgia’s Camp Cardiac and Camp Neuro summer workshops for Georgia high school students interested in the STEM fields.
Most recently, Raja worked to found a chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society at PCOM Georgia. The chapter, of which she serves as president, recognizes medical
students, residents and faculty who practice patient-centered care by modeling the
qualities of integrity, excellence, compassion, altruism, respect and empathy.
“I like to be involved,” said Raja, who was named Student Doctor of the Year in 2019 by the Medical Association of Georgia. “Medical school gave me the ability to be
a part of significant projects that helped me make an impact on the PCOM Georgia campus
and within the broader community.”
Two years ago, when Raja began her first pediatric rotation, she feared that working
with sick children would be disheartening. She found her experience to be the exact
opposite, and she is now on track to become a pediatrician.
“It was amazing to me that these kids could be so ill, but were still just kids at
their core,” she says. “They still wanted to do things that kids enjoy, like playing
video games or going to the park. Their resilience was inspiring to me. And they were
willing to work hard to get better. At the same time, I found that most parents are
willing to learn about their child’s disease and the pathophysiology; they are the
biggest advocates for their children and partners for me as a physician.”
Patience Mason, PCOM’s Chief Student Affairs Officer said, “Akila is a phenomenal
student with unlimited enthusiasm and drive. She has left an indelible mark on PCOM
Georgia and I have no doubt that she will serve the college and the osteopathic medicine
Learn more about Founders' Day 2021 and the other award recipients.
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About PCOM Georgia
Established in 2005, PCOM Georgia is a private, not-for-profit, accredited institute of higher education dedicated
to the healthcare professions. The Suwanee, Georgia, campus is affiliated with Philadelphia
College of Osteopathic Medicine, a premier osteopathic medical school with a storied
history. PCOM Georgia offers doctoral degrees in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, and
physical therapy and graduate degrees in biomedical sciences, medical laboratory science,
and physician assistant studies. Emphasizing "a whole person approach to care," PCOM
Georgia focuses on educational excellence, interprofessional education and service
to the wider community. The campus is also home to the Georgia Osteopathic Care Center,
an osteopathic manipulative medicine clinic, which is open to the public by appointment.
For more information, visit pcom.edu/georgia or call 678-225-7500.
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