On February 8, the PCOM chapter of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA)
and the offices of Admissions, Diversity and Community Relations and Student Affairs, sponsored an event to mark the start of Black History Month and honor the contributions
of PCOM’s African-American alumni. The well-attended event featured spoken word, dance
and musical performances, and a keynote from alumna Monique Gary, DO '09, who in her
speech honored the legacy and work of former board member Leonard Johnson, DO ’64.
Dr. Johnson was the 2003 recipient of PCOM’s OJ Snyder Memorial Medal, and in 2014,
his portrait was hung in Evans Hall as a testament to his commitment to the students
and patients whom he served.
On Tuesday, February 12, the Office of Diversity and Community Relations and the SNMA
sponsored a conversation with Deneen Hendrick, DO ’90, to commemorate the legacy of
Meta Christy, DO ’21—the first African-American graduate from PCOM and the nation’s
first African-American osteopathic physician. Dr. Hendrick, coordinator of pre-health
studies at Rowan University and former clinical assistant professor of pediatrics
at PCOM, discussed with attendees her own professional journey.
Throughout the month of February, a list of prominent African-American alumni from
PCOM was displayed in the lobby of Evans Hall to honor their accomplishments. In addition
to Dr. Christy, other notable black alumni include Ethel D. Allen, DO ’63, the first
African-American elected to an at-large seat in the Philadelphia City Council, and
Danielle Ward, DO ’18, who was the first DO student to head the national SNMA.
Also in February, the Cultural Competency Program (CCP)—a collaboration initiated
by the SNMA among student groups* across PCOM that addresses the impact of culture,
race, religion, ethnicity, gender and socioeconomic status on patient care and the
healthcare system—held the inaugural Cultural Humility and Medicine Symposium at PCOM.
The event, open to all medical students from schools across the region, explored the
social issues which fuel discrimination, bias, and neglect within the healthcare system.
The day featured lectures and breakout sessions on topics such as poverty, religious
practices, patients with disabilities, provider perception of pain, African-American
maternal mortality and trauma informed-care. Roughly 75 students from PCOM, Rowan
School of Osteopathic Medicine, Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University
and Drexel University College of Medicine attended.
“It was our hope that we could contribute to increasing awareness among our peers,
to increase cultural humility and demonstrate that together we can eliminate bias,
disparities, and neglect,” said Chantel Thompson (DO ’21), co-president of SNMA at
PCOM and program chair for CCP.
She added that several administrative offices, student groups and individuals on campus—including
Robert Dustin, associate director of Student Affairs; Meshonea Fox, administrative
coordinator in the Office of Student Affairs; Marcine Pickron-Davis, PhD, chief diversity and community relations officer; and Marsha Williams, associate
director of admission for diversity initiatives and recruitment—as instrumental in
the planning of the event.
Also on display throughout the month was an exhibition of paintings in Evans Hall done by local artist Stephanie Boateng, who said her paintings “are about celebrating
the beauty of black people, our features and expressions.” The exhibition was curated
by Megan Aidoo (DO ’21) and Ms. Williams in admissions.
“Events like those we held for Black History Month speak to the unique experience
of both the African-American physician and patient in the U.S. healthcare system,”
said Dr. Pickron-Davis. “Exposing everyone to those experiences and viewpoints will
make our students better physicians, able to treat all patients with compassionate
care, and better colleagues and members of the profession as well.”
*Student organizations involved in the CCP are: Student National Medical Association (SNMA); Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA)
; American Women’s Medical Association (AMWA); Asian Pacific American Medical Students
Association (APAMSA); Christian Medical Association (CMA); Muslim Medical Student
Association (MMSA); Jewish Medical Association (JMA); Student Osteopathic Medical
Association (SOMA); PCOM Advocates for Individuals with Disabilities (PCOM AID); Association
of Military Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons (AMOPS) and LGBTQ Alliance of Students
Organized for Health (LASOH).
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.
For more information, contact: Daniel McCunney Associate Director, News and Media Relations Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Office: 215-871-6304 | Cell: