PCOM Female Leaders Excel May 16, 2022
From Campus Level to the National Level
Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) has a long tradition of leadership and service. This dedication to improving the
communities we serve is not only an integral part of our tradition but a central tenet
of PCOM’s 2025 Strategic Plan. One strategic initiative states, “PCOM embeds diversity, equity and inclusion in
its curriculum, policies, processes and practices to advance student, faculty and
staff performance and excellence in service to communities.” Several female student
leaders have recently pushed themselves to be a true embodiment of this strategic
These female student leaders have expanded their reach within national professional
organizations to rise to national leadership positions. They have taken the skills
and leadership experience they gained while members of their respective organizations
at the campus level to the national level. Each of these students has made the conscious
choice to extend their educational journey at PCOM beyond the classroom to help inform
and influence their respective professional organizations and the communities they serve.
American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians (ACOFP)
Rachel Souza (DO `23)
Vice President - National Student Executive Board
After serving as president of PCOM’s ACOFP during the second half of her first year and into the first half of her second year
as a student in the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine program, Ms. Souza knew that she wanted to continue her journey with the ACOFP, but now on
a national scale. After being elected at the organization’s national conference in
March, Ms. Souza will serve a year-long term as vice president of the National Student
Executive Board, providing student guidance for the ACOFP. Among her many leadership
duties in this role, Ms. Souza is responsible for interacting with chapters from across
the country to ensure they are successful and coordinating the board’s annual community
service project. Ms. Souza shared that her continued involvement with the ACOFP is
a way for her to pay forward the mentorship she received from the organization to
first and second-year students.
American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA)
Julia Burns (DO `24)
AMWA National Student Division President-Elect - Elected March 2022
As a dedicated member of PCOM’s AMWA chapter, Ms. Burns served in various roles on campus before transitioning to regional
and now national leadership positions. Coming off of a year as the AMWA Region 3 director, serving chapters in Washington DC, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and
West Virginia, Ms. Burns has now been named president-elect of the AMWA National Student
Division. In this role, she will spend a year shadowing the current president to understand
the position, and from there, she will transition to national president. Ms. Burns
will sit on the Board of Directors of AMWA and act as a student liaison with the national
board. In this role, Ms. Burns will be responsible for interacting with regional chapters
and developing programming that aligns with the key initiatives of the organization.
Monali Shah (DO `23), PCOM South Georgia
AMWA National Student Division Philanthropy Chair - Elected in March 2022
For some, progression in leadership comes naturally. For Ms. Shah, a member of PCOM’s
AMWA chapter since her first year as a student in the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine
program, that is certainly the case. Most recently, Ms. Shah served as the Region
4 director for AMWA, covering chapters located in Florida, Georgia, North Caroline
and South Carolina. Seeing the need to address vaccine hesitancy in her region, Ms.
Shah created a fundraiser that sold pins reading “I’m Vaccinated” to medical professionals,
to help start vaccination conversations with their patients. The success of this campaign
lent itself to Ms. Shah pursuing leadership further, and she was ultimately named
AMWA’s National Student Division Philanthropy Chair. In this role, Ms. Shah will create
a national service project for all AMWA leaders and help individual chapters develop
service projects. She is also responsible for leading AMWA’s national fundraising
Association of Native American Medical Students (ANAMS)
Anna Klunk (DO `24)
National Chair of DO Outreach
Since joining ANAMS in her first year of medical school, Ms. Klunk felt it was her calling to bring what
she learned back to her peers at PCOM. Per AACOM’s annual report of matriculated students by ethnicity, less than 1% of PCOM students in the doctor of osteopathic medicine program (across
all three campuses) identify as being of American Indian or Alaska Native descent.
Ms. Klunk knew it was critically important for her to serve as an ambassador for the
medical needs of Native American patient populations. Ms. Klunk has worked alongside
AMWA to raise awareness for culturally competent screening for missing and murdered
Indigenous women and girls in the healthcare setting.
In her national role, Ms. Klunk works to increase awareness of the osteopathic profession
and make resources available for prospective students. She has also been called upon
by AACOM to evaluate a curriculum aimed at improving diversity in colleges of osteopathic
medicine. In this role, she helped recruit other Native American DO students to evaluate
this curriculum. Ms. Klunk also serves on a subcommittee that works with the Association
of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the National Residency Match Program (NRMP) and
the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) to address micro
and macro aggressions that Native American students face.
Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association (APAMSA)
Monica Villegas (DO `24)
National Board Southeast Asian Director
The decision to pursue leadership in a national organization is not one that should
be made lightly. The demands of these roles can be very time consuming and for busy
medical students, can add tremendous stress to an already-busy schedule. Many students
feel a personal calling to pursue these roles. Such is the case with Ms. Villegas. As a student of Southeast Asian heritage, Ms. Villegas has pursued this position
in hopes of highlighting the unique health issues that are prevalent throughout the
Southeast Asian community. She hopes her voice will make other students and physicians
aware of the needs of this population so they are better equipped to provide care.
Ms. Villegas will also serve as the diversity, equity and inclusion liaison representing
APAMSA for the American Osteopathic Association.
Association of Women Surgeons (AWS)
Carly Krespan (DO `25)
Mid-Atlantic Regional Representative
For some students, the decision to pursue leadership comes quite naturally to them.
Though only in her second year of medical school, Ms. Krespan has already been elected
for two national positions with the AWS. Last year, Ms. Krespan served as the Mid-Atlantic Regional Representative on the
AWS National Medical Student Committee. This year, Ms. Krespan will serve as the Marketing
and Social Media Coordinator for the committee. In this role, Ms. Krespan will serve
as the voice of the committee, sharing news and announcements with a larger audience.
Global Surgery Student Alliance (GSSA)
Lydia Kersh (DO `24)
Vice President of Internal Affairs
As a student, passionate about pursuing global surgery, Ms. Kersh not only had to
seek out opportunities for herself but in the case of the GSSA, she had to pave a path that was not there before. When first elected as the vice
president of internal affairs on the GSSA National Team, she was the only osteopathic
medical student. Ms. Kersh shared that her goal in joining the GSSA National Team
was to change the landscape of global surgery education to include DO students. She
wanted other DO students to see that they could be a part of the organization too.
Now, after serving for a year on the national team, Ms. Kersh has made such an impact,
she has led two symposiums with UCSF and Vanderbilt SOM, and serves as the leader
of the Equity Initiative Team. In this role, Ms. Kersh will work to educate students
on opportunities within the global surgery field. Along with the members of her national
Board, Ms. Kersh will lead national meetings, provide guidance for regional chapters,
coordinate and host national conferences and produce the organization’s annual report.
Ms. Kersh also served as the president of PCOM’s Global Surgery Club.
Maya Sengha (DO `24)
Vice President of Finance
Following the guidance of classmate Lydia Kersh, Ms. Sengha also pursued a national
leadership role within the GSSA. Elected in January 2022, Ms. Sengha will hold the
vice president of finance position for one year, learning from her predecessor. Ms.
Sengha will be tasked with learning the organization's financial requirements, meeting
with key donors and promoting the organization’s fundraisers. She will also collaborate
with the rest of the board to host a workshop focused on grant writing for students
interested in pursuing global research. Ms. Sengha is also a part of PCOM’s Global
Student National Medical Association (SNMA)
Omoshade Idowu (DO `23)
As a long-time leader with SNMA, both at the PCOM level (Ms. Idowu previously served as co-president of the PCOM
chapter of SNMA) and the national level (on the Board of Directors), Ms. Idowu is the perfect fit for this position. As the national parliamentarian,
Ms. Idowu will call upon her experiences with SNMA to help the organization continue
to grow and expand. As a leader throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Ms. Idowu saw first-hand
the flexibility needed to run a large organization. In her new role, she will serve
as the right-hand to the chair in conducting the Board of Directors meeting, ensuring
that all bylaws are being followed. She is also responsible for updating the bylaws
and constitution of the national organization and reviewing all regional bylaws to
ensure they are in alignment with those set by the national organization.
Claudine Nwdiozor (DO `23)
National Osteopathic Chair
Any election to a national position is an honor, but for some students, like Ms. Nwdiozor,
they are not only representing PCOM but the entire field of osteopathic medicine.
As the National Osteopathic Schools Committee Co-Chair, Ms. Nwdiozor will work to
increase the national knowledge of osteopathic medicine. Ms. Nwdiozor will serve as a liaison between osteopathic medical students and the
SNMA Board of Directors, communicating and advocating for the unique needs of the
profession. This role is also particularly important in guiding undergraduate students
who may be interested in pursuing medicine. Ms. Nwdiozor has shared that one of her
primary goals in this role is to expand the mentorship program to allow students more
opportunities to learn and be successful. In this role, Ms. Nwdiozor will also work
closely with the American Osteopathic Association and the Student Osteopathic Medical
Association, among other osteopathic partners. Ms. Nwdiozor previously served as co-president
of the PCOM SNMA chapter and SNMA Region VIII Fundraising co-chair.
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About Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Founded in 1899, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) has trained thousands
of highly competent, caring physicians, health practitioners and behavioral scientists
who practice a “whole person” approach to care—treating people, not just symptoms.
PCOM operates three campuses (PCOM, PCOM Georgia and PCOM South Georgia) and offers doctoral degrees in clinical psychology, educational psychology, osteopathic
medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy and school psychology, and graduate degrees in
applied behavior analysis, applied positive psychology, biomedical sciences, forensic
medicine, medical laboratory science, mental health counseling, non profit leadership
and population health management, organizational development and leadership, physician
assistant studies, school psychology, and public health management and administration.
PCOM students learn the importance of health promotion, research, education and service
to the community. Through its community-based Healthcare Centers, PCOM provides care
to medically underserved populations. For more information, visit pcom.edu or call 215-871-6100.
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