PCOM Georgia Medical Student Awarded Dr Oz Scholarship
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Thomas Awarded Dr Oz Diversity in Medicine Scholarship

March 10, 2021

Kayla Thomas, a medical student at PCOM Georgia in Suwnaee, Georgia, was recently awarded a Dr. Oz Show Diversity in Medicine scholarship.PCOM Georgia Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine student Kayla Thomas (DO ’21) was recently awarded a Diversity in Medicine scholarship from The Doctor Oz Show. The award is part of the #MoreBlackDoctors campaign and is intended to help empower, support and advocate for more diversity in medicine, while combating racial bias, according to the show.

Thomas was selected from among several hundred candidates who applied for the scholarship, according to Dr. Oz. When she found out she was the scholarship recipient, Thomas said, “I told myself I wouldn't get emotional, but I just want to say this means so much to me, not only at this point in my career, and it's really just the fact that I'm able to sit here and to share my story.”

“It really also allows me to say thank you to my support system like my mother. She is the absolute best person. I definitely could not have made it this far without her.”

As a child, Thomas’s interest in medicine was piqued when she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Dr. Oz asked her, “You say your mom faced a lot of difficulty in getting you a diagnosis and treatment when you were younger. So how do you hope to help other families navigate the system better?”

Thomas said, “I think, really, what I aim to do is through residency and through the rest of my career, is to bring not only the book knowledge that I have learned from school, but also take my personal journey and what it's like coming from an underserved area, a single-parent family, having chronic complex issues and using those to meet my patients where they're at. It's part of the reason I want to go into Med-Peds , which like you said is combining pediatrics and internal medicine.”

Dr. Oz said Thomas was selected from several hundred candidates for the award.The #MoreBlackDoctors Scholarship is a $10,000 scholarship awarded to students who are underrepresented in medicine. Thomas said she discovered the opportunity while she was researching scholarships for her pre-med mentees. I read the mission statement and the prompt and instantly started crafting my response in my head. “I found the scholarship close to the deadline so I had to work pretty quickly to get the requirements submitted,” she noted.

A graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a minor in Intercultural Studies, Thomas is the founder, head mentor and career advisor for the Brilliant Minds Project. Through this program, she partners with high schools that have a significant minority population to provide a program that strengthens students academically while giving them a glimpse of the healthcare fields. She provides academic support, mentoring, hands on experience, skill-based workshops and networking opportunities.

In addition, Thomas is the founder and head tutor of Thomas Tutoring Services in which she offers virtual English, reading, comprehension and science tutoring for third through 12th grade students. She also provides test preparation services for high school and pre-medical students, while partnering with her sister, who provides math tutoring services.

Last January, Thomas started Pre-Med Navigator, an online platform for underrepresented students interested in pursuing a medical degree. She also works with medical students completing their didactic years and helps them develop study habits and school-life balance. Thomas is currently working with 52 pre-med and medical school students on the platform.

At PCOM Georgia, Thomas is an inaugural member of the Gold Humanism Honor Society serving as the external mentorship chair. The society is a merit-based honor society that focuses on humanism and compassion in medicine and recognizes students who prioritize patient care and advocacy.

In addition, she serves as the Class of 2021 class representative, acting as the liaison between class members and faculty. She also planned and organized a mentoring program for first and second year DO students. She has served as a DO Council member, as the founder and co-chair of the Wholistic Wellness Committee, as the national liaison for the Student National Medical Association, and as the vice president of the Complementary Alternative Medicine Club.

Among Thomas’ honors are being named the National Medical Fellowship 2018 Chicago Scholar. She has logged many volunteer hours including volunteering with the Medical Students for Masks Atlanta organization which raised $15,000 to purchase PPE at the beginning of the pandemic. She has mentored high school students through PCOM Georgia’s Health Career Academy and spent time in Ethiopia teaching preschoolers English and volunteering at an orphanage. In her free time, Thomas enjoys baking and compiling her family’s cookbook. She is a member of the Christian Medical and Dental Association and the National Med-Peds Residents’ Association.

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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. 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.

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    Email: BarbaraMy@pcom.edu
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