AANHPI Heritage Month: Representation Matters in Medicine
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Representation Matters in Medicine 
AANHPI Heritage Month

May 28, 2024
Photo of PCOM Georgia medical student Diane Janelle “DJ” Camonayan holding her student physician white coat.

Growing up as the eldest daughter of Filipino immigrants, Diane Janelle “DJ” J. Camonayan (DO '27) faced the challenge of balancing family responsibilities with the aspiration to pursue medicine.

“My passion for healthcare began in high school during a lunch and learn event in a cardiac cath lab,” Camonayan said. “That's where I witnessed the lifesaving impact of a stent on a heart attack patient.”

Following in the footsteps of her mother, a cardiovascular ICU nurse, Camonayan graduated from Georgia State University's Accelerated Nursing Program in 2017 and became a cardiovascular ICU nurse too.

“Despite my rewarding career, I yearned to understand the intricacies of medicine and contribute beyond the nursing scope,” Camonayan added.

In spring 2020, she began pre-med prerequisites while working 12-hour night shifts during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“You would think seeing critically ill patients daily would deter me from medicine, but that is actually what inspired me to continue on this journey,” Camonayan said.

“As a first-generation Filipino American, I faced impostor syndrome, seldom seeing Filipino American physicians,” Camonayan added. “However, I realized that diversity in medicine starts with diverse candidates pursuing the field.”

Her nursing background was the inspiration behind choosing osteopathic medicine, aligning with her holistic approach to patient care.

“I hope that one day I can inspire other Filipino American girls to pursue a career in medicine and become physicians,” she said.

At PCOM Georgia, Camonayan found a supportive community through the Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association (APAMSA) chapter, where she serves as vice president. The chapter celebrates Asian American culture with events such as Lunar New Year and boba socials, and supports the community through initiatives like volunteering at Vietnamese assisted living centers.

Camonayan concludes, “My journey underscores the importance of representation, and the message to the Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander community: it is never too late to passionately pursue your dreams, just do so with integrity and compassion.”

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About PCOM Georgia

Established in 2005, PCOM Georgia is a branch campus of Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM), a private, not-for-profit, accredited institution of higher education with a storied 125-year history dedicated to the healthcare professions. Located in Suwanee (Gwinnett County), PCOM Georgia offers doctoral degrees in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy and physical therapy. Graduate degrees are offered in biomedical sciences, medical laboratory science and physician assistant studies. The campus joins PCOM South Georgia in Moultrie in helping to meet the healthcare needs of the state. Emphasizing "a whole person" approach to care, PCOM Georgia focuses on educational excellence, interprofessional education and service to the community. For more information, visit pcom.edu 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.

Contact Us

Jamesia Harrison, MS
Assistant Director, News and Media Relations
Email: jamesiaha@pcom.edu
Office: 678-225-7532 | Cell: 470-572-7558

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