Rider Named PCOM's Selection for DO Student of the Year
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Taylor Rider Named PCOM's DO Student of the Year

January 25, 2023

Headshot photograph of PCOM's Taylor Rider, National DO Student of the YearSurprised. Honored. Bewildered.

Those were just some of the feelings Taylor Rider (DO '23) experienced when she learned she had been named Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine's (PCOM) selection for Student DO of the Year by the Osteopathic Student Government Presidents of the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM). Her name and application will be submitted for consideration for national honors from among students across the country. The award is given to osteopathic medical students in recognition of their commitment to the principles of leadership, community service, dedication and professionalism. “It really is an honor to be recognized among such successful peers,” Rider said.

Chosen by their peers, Student DO of the Year recipients are selected on the basis of their service to their college, leadership and research experiences, and dedication to the osteopathic profession. “Watching and knowing the amazing things that my peers are doing in the community and for the patient populations that we serve… it's really an honor to be recognized as a standard for PCOM,” Rider reflected.

Originally from Spencer/Van Etten, New York, a rural area outside of Ithaca, Rider has spent her time at PCOM focused on giving back to the Philadelphia community. She is senior director and founder of the HEARTS student-run free clinic at Methodist Services and has received numerous awards and honors, including the 2021 Student Service Award from PCOM's Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) program and the “This We Believe Award” from the Family Medicine Education Consortium. She is also an inductee into the Gold Humanism Honor Society and the Sigma Sigma Phi Honorary Service Fraternity. She plans to stay in Pennsylvania upon graduating and is currently applying to residency programs in family medicine. She hopes to one day bring the theme of service that has defined her medical school journey back to rural and underserved communities as a family practice physician. “I'm a product of a rural, underserved community, so giving back to those populations is really important to me.”

While being recognized as Student DO of the Year is an accomplishment for which she takes great pride, Rider is most proud of what being an osteopathic physician represents. “I have an uncanny ability to pick out a DO among attendings without necessarily knowing they are a DO because when you work with somebody who holds this philosophy dear, patients become people instead of problems,” said Rider. “It's not ‘This is so and so. She's a 50-year-old female with fibromyalgia.’ It's ’This is Denise, and she plays the piano and loves playing with her kids.’ That's the piece that I love.”

“[The osteopathic] philosophy is one that once you adopt and accept it as a student, it permeates into more than the way you look at your career,” she added. “It's the way you look at the world.” As she prepares for the next chapter in her journey to becoming a physician, Rider is generous with her time and wisdom for her peers.

“Grab every opportunity you can by the handlebars and run with it,” she said. “I've had such amazing opportunities here at PCOM, from opening a new site for our student-run free clinic to helping with COVID vaccination efforts. While medical school is hard, and you're in your bubble trying to learn, you can't ignore the fact that there's a whole community out there that you're still supposed to be serving. Leading with that servant's heart is such a huge, important piece of being a physician that I hope we never lose here at PCOM.”

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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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