From the Court to the Clinic: PCOM Med Student Rises to Occasion
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From the Court to the Clinic 
Black History Month


February 1, 2024

PCOM medical student Romeo Mays (DO ’27)“I’ve never had a Black doctor,” said Romeo Mays (DO ’27). “I’ve really begun to understand that it’s not something you see a lot of, so I want to stand as a symbol for what I hope to see more of in the future.”

Reflecting on the past, Mays had one big dream as a kid: to play in the NBA. At 12 years old, he suffered an injury that jeopardized his chances of going pro. A meniscus tear and potential ACL reconstruction caused him to meet with an orthopedic surgeon.

“That’s where my medical journey really began,” he said. “I was scared about being able to play again, and his ability to keep it real and put me as his main priority in that moment was everything.”

His genuine interaction with the surgeon prompted him to rethink what his future career could look like.

“It was a formative moment that I’ll never forget,” he said. “It’s what made me think about becoming a doctor.”

Mays hung up his basketball shoes after graduate school, but is finding new ways to combine his love for the sport with medicine.

“I’m trying to stay open to the process and see what the universe brings me,” he said. “I have a major interest in sports medicine and becoming a team doctor for the NBA. I’m also interested in pediatrics and would love to serve in an underrepresented community because I want kids like me to know they can aim for high achievements.”

Side by side basketball photos of Romeo Mays - childhood and high school photo

Growing up in a medically underserved area of California, Mays was raised by his mother, whom he calls “the strongest person” he knows. Her constant encouragement and support allowed him to take advantage of many opportunities. Although he now lives across the country and attends PCOM, he maintains that special connection with her.

“She helps me study all the time,” he shared. “I know it’s been very good for me to see a new part of the country, but I still talk to her every day.”

Romeo Mays (DO ’27) and his momMays didn’t move to the East Coast with a medical school acceptance in hand. Instead, he took advantage of a gap year to think more deeply about what his next steps would be.

“There’s definitely pressure to just push all the way through and become a doctor as soon as possible, but I've never heard someone say I wish I took less time off,” he said. “I encourage anybody who's on the fence to take that year because once you start on this journey, there’s no stopping.”

Now that he’s full steam ahead, Mays is excited about what he can offer to others once he becomes a DO.

“A big way to get more representation in the field is by having more positive interactions. I want to be the doctor that people would love to send all their family and friends to,” he said. “I want to give others the opportunity to have the Black doctor I never had.”

From February 1 to February 29, PCOM joins others around the country in observing Black History Month. This important celebration honors the histories, cultures and contributions of those who identify as Black or African American. At PCOM, we recognize our faculty, students and staff who identify as such and will highlight their stories throughout the month.

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  • About Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

    For the past 125 years, 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, a private, not-for-profit accredited institution of higher education, 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. The college also offers graduate degrees in applied behavior analysis, applied positive psychology, biomedical sciences, forensic medicine, medical laboratory science, mental health counseling, physician assistant studies, and school psychology. 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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