Hannah Shin, DO ‘19, Receives Pressly Memorial Medal
June 14, 2019
In her time at PCOM Georgia, Dr. Shin tirelessly served the community, institution
and DO profession through service and education.
Before she entered medical school, Hannah Shin, DO ’19, taught high school in Korea
and worked for a South Korean press agency, drawn by the potential of photojournalism
“to tell people’s stories and motivate people to change the world.” Now just weeks
away from a surgery residency, the winner of this year’s Mason W. Pressly Memorial
Medal reflects, “As a teacher and a journalist, I listened to people’s stories; as
a surgeon, I’ll get to actually change those stories.”
In fact, she began that work long ago as a tireless community service volunteer who
sacrificed not a drop of academic excellence to her daunting schedule.
Dr. Shin’s proudest achievement during medical school at PCOM Georgia is her involvement with the Health Career Academy (HCA) held at Central Gwinnett
High School in Lawrenceville, which encourages underrepresented minority students
to graduate and to pursue careers in health care. For five months each in grades 10-12,
the HCA’s high school students worked with osteopathic medicine, pharmacy and biomedical
sciences student mentors from PCOM Georgia. The HCA concept was designed by Main Line
Health, a network of hospitals and clinics in Philadelphia, and supported by Aetna.
When the first HCA class graduated in May 2018, Dr. Shin, one of the academy’s leaders,
was moved by her students’ progress and their excitement about their futures. The
high school valedictorian, invited to the Governor’s Mansion on the same day, “left
early so he could make it to our graduation—running into the library, huffing and puffing. We really connected with
these kids,” Dr. Shin recalled.
HCA was far from her only endeavor. As the community service liaison for the Office of Student Affairs, Dr. Shin organized relief efforts for the Louisiana floods and sponsorship of Thanksgiving
baskets for veterans and the homeless. She led a team of volunteers as director of
Camp Neuro, a weeklong summer camp hosted by PCOM Georgia for high school students interested
in medicine, and helped organize a fundraiser to provide two of those students with
She was vice president of Phi Chi medical fraternity and brought a chapter of the
American Medical Women's Association to campus, planning service events and advocating
for women's health issues. The 2018 PCOM Georgia’s Student DO of the Year, she received the Silver Level award of the Council of Osteopathic Student Government
Presidents for community service.
Dr. Shin’s photojournalist’s eye sees “a beauty to surgery—the minute the camera
enters the abdominal cavity. . . . And there’s something about first learning about
your patients and their ailments and then having that ability to have a direct and
positive transformation on the course of their lives.”
As Dr. Shin reflects on her journey through medical school, she highlights the value
of good mentors—“people who’ve been through it, who can tell you that there’s a light
at the end of the tunnel”—and of teamwork: “Surgery is such a coordinated effort.
If your team doesn’t trust and respect you, nothing gets done. You want to be a person
that people look up to—a good leader, listener, teacher.”
As the PCOM Georgia Mason W. Pressly Memorial Medal recipient, Dr. Shin was honored
at a reception held at The 1818 Club in Duluth on the evening prior to the May 22,
2019 commencement ceremonies. The award is presented to one student from each PCOM
campus for their outstanding achievement and service to the College, the community
and the osteopathic profession.
Addressing the faculty, staff, fellow students, family members and friends who attended
the reception, she said it took “a village” to get her to this place.
She quoted Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to
be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that
you have lived and lived well.”
Dr. Shin noted that her decision to attend PCOM Georgia “allowed me to do just that.”
“In the words of Meredith Grey, you all set the bar high, so very high, constantly
reminding us of the privilege that comes with this profession and the expectations
of the trails we will blaze, the people we will help, and the difference we will make.”
She said that graduates have to decide what kind of difference they will make.
“For me, it is investing and educating future generations, because our communities
cannot grow if we don’t plant the seeds.”
Her focus is on the generation behind her. “I want to tell the next generation that
they were made exactly as they are, to be whom they were always meant to be, wholeheartedly
She continued, “That they have the capacity to celebrate their uniqueness and use
every ounce of potential given to them and more. That they really can achieve anything
they set their minds to.”
Just like Dr. Hannah Shin. This award-winning graduate has accepted a residency position
in General Surgery at PCOM in Philadelphia and will start her training on June 24.
Well done, Dr. Shin!
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. For more information, visit pcom.edu/georgia or call 678-225-7500. 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 pcomgeorgiahealth.org.
For more information, contact: Barbara Myers Senior Public Relations Manager Email: BarbaraMy@pcom.edu Office: 678-225-7532 | Cell: