PCOM South Georgia DO Student Receives AACOM Arnstein Scholarship
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Jordan Howard (DO ’26) Receives AACOM Arnstein Scholarship

January 9, 2024

PCOM South Georgia medical student Jordan Howard (DO '26)When he was 7 years old, Jordan Howard (DO ’26) decided to pursue a career in medicine.

The Savannah, Georgia, native grew up in a neighborhood that he described as an underserved community that was a “food swamp.” There were many fast food restaurants and few grocery stores to provide healthy food alternatives.

“One of the main challenges I faced was dealing with childhood obesity,” Howard said. “There weren't many healthy eating options. Growing up with those calorie-dense fast food restaurants, not having access to fresh fruits and vegetables, that really encouraged me to pursue medicine.”

After joining his high school’s marching band, Howard began his weight loss journey.

“I kind of discovered myself, and I reinvented myself,” he said. “I saw the power that food actually plays in medicine, and I also saw the power that community plays in medicine as well. For me that was so impactful because it was something that I don't think is really emphasized enough in medicine. Culinary medicine is something that I am passionate about pursuing.”

Now Howard wants to help others avoid the struggle he had, especially those who come from backgrounds similar to his.

“Having a lot of adverse childhood experiences inspired me to not want to witness other children go through those kinds of adverse childhood experiences,” Howard said. “At age 7, it was implanted in my heart to pursue a career in medicine. I’m currently interested in pediatrics.”

Howard is one of six students nationwide who received the 2023 Sherry R. Arnstein Underrepresented Minority Student Scholarship from the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM).

“We are very proud that these students represent the next generation of osteopathic physicians and will be the future doctors advancing our nation’s healthcare system,” said AACOM President and CEO Robert A. Cain, DO. “Our country is facing a crisis and is in desperate need of highly trained and skilled physicians, particularly doctors of color and those dedicated to practicing in underserved and rural areas. These student doctors are committed to the osteopathic principles of serving all communities, particularly those most in need. There is no better way to honor the legacy of Sherry Arnstein.”

The Sherry R. Arnstein Underrepresented Minority Student Scholarship was established in honor of Arnstein’s lifelong dedication to public service, social equity and justice. After the initial endowment, AACOM continued funding the program, which has grown steadily since its inaugural grants were awarded. Since 2012, AACOM has awarded more than $250,000 to 66 recipients.

“This scholarship means a lot to me because coming from an underrepresented minority background and being an underrepresented minority in medicine, I am able to be a change agent and a trendsetter for those who want to come after me,” Howard said. “I want to give other people the inspiration that they need to apply for scholarships and to reach out and just put themselves out there because it's a great opportunity.”

Before beginning medical school, Howard earned a bachelor’s degree at South Carolina State University and a master of public health degree at Mercer University’s Atlanta campus.

“I remember sitting in those classes like the social determinants of health, diverse populations and environmental health, and all these different courses,” he said. “What I loved about it the most is that it actually taught me about the upstream approach of how to take care of a patient by getting to the root of the problem as opposed to just treating symptoms. When I did my research about what osteopathic medicine was, that philosophy aligned with my personal philosophy or what I believe medicine to be. That actually inspired me to attend an osteopathic medical school in pursuit of my ideal degree.”

For Howard, PCOM South Georgia immediately felt at home.

“PCOM South Georgia reminds me so much of my HBCU, South Carolina State University,” he said. “When I first toured this campus, on accepted students’ day the March before I started, I fell in love because of the small student class size. It was very familiar. It's a very community-oriented campus. I also love the nature-like vibe that it has. It's very vibrant with all the windows, the scenery, the sunlight piercing through. I believe all those inspire me and keep me going in times where I might not feel like studying or I might be a little tired.”

“The other class of students took us under their wings, like we were their children,” Howard continued. “That was a huge moment for me because it was heartwarming. It was like a homecoming, although I had never been here before. That's why I chose PCOM South Georgia.”

Now he realizes that his dream is coming true.

“I am just really excited about achieving my dream of being in medical school,” Howard said. “I remember when I was seven years old, and it was just something that was placed in my heart. Now, I am actually working toward my goal, sitting in the classroom learning about all these different pathologies, and just working with my classmates and peers from different cultures and backgrounds. It's like a dream come true. I'm really grateful to be here and grateful to even have an opportunity to pursue medicine and be able to give back to my community. I’m grateful to live the dream that was placed in my heart a long time ago.”

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  • About PCOM South Georgia

    In 2019, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM), a premier osteopathic medical school with a storied 125-year history, extended its commitment to the Southeast by establishing PCOM South Georgia. An additional teaching location in Moultrie, Georgia, PCOM South Georgia offers both a full, four-year medical program leading to the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree and a Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences. PCOM is a private, not-for-profit institution that trains professionals in the health and behavioral sciences fields. Joining PCOM Georgia in Suwanee in helping to meet the healthcare needs of the state, PCOM South Georgia focuses on educating physicians for the region. For more information, visit pcom.edu or call 229-668-3110.

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