The Foundation is proud to introduce our newest set of scholarship recipients.
Sienna Laughton, Alaska, PNWU-COM, AKOMA/Alaska scholarship
Sienna currently lives in Yakima, Washington. She traveled a bit before coming back to the Pacific Northwest, and notes that she came back due to the skiing, hiking, and diverse people and geography.
One of her references stated, “While maintaining a high level of academic excellence, she also devoted considerable time and effort to serving the university, her peers and the Yakima, WA community. She has demonstrated ample leadership potential in her roles as a course liaison, and as an officer in multiple student clubs including serving as President of the Yakima Health Equity Forum, a group dedicated to combatting social and economic health disparities in the Pacific Northwest. Furthermore, she has demonstrated ample commitment to serving the underserved in the Pacific Northwest through her work as a volunteer interpreter at the (Yakima) Union Gospel Mission (YUGM). This commitment was evident even prior to her matriculation through her work as an Americorps volunteer in central Washington State”.
While volunteering at YUGM, it was noted that, “her ability to interpret for our often undocumented, migrant patients helped put them at ease during a time of distress”. Sienna was quoted as saying, “…being a physician in an underserved area is not just an occupation, it is a vocation. I am excited to step into that role…”.
Sienna also participates in OMT for First Responders sessions that were set up by one of the clubs on campus. She’s been an active participant in local races and health fairs as well. “She appreciates patients as complete beings and recognizes that a healthy community creates healthy people”. She is noted as being “kind and polite in all of her interactions…she demonstrates a poised, quiet confidence and professionalism well beyond her years and training”.
The foundation is delighted to hear that Sienna intends to stay and practice in the Pacific Northwest. We are convinced she will be an amazing asset to her future community. Job well done, Sienna, and congratulations.
Brittney VanAusdol, Montana, COMP-Northwest, Shirley Carpenter Scholarship
Brittney embodies the spirit of Montana. She is well rounded and brings a unique insight to her future profession as a DO, in that she has experienced all that the beautiful outdoors had to offer, both in experience and injuries. It was mentioned that while involved in her active lifestyle growing up, she injured her ACL’s 4 times, leading to 5 knee surgeries in a span of 6 years. Instead of complaining, she sees this as an opportunity to understand how a patient may feel and respond to a physician’s suggestions and treatments. She is capable of putting herself in her patient’s shoes, and can relate to them on a very unique level.
Brittney grew up riding horses in the rodeo. Pictures of her on her horse gives the viewer the impression that she and her horse are one, bound together by hours of hard work, one-on-one time, and love. She has learned to water ski, and snow ski. She enjoys hunting, fishing, riding horses (trail riding along with rodeo riding), and has a deep, deep connection to her family, noting that she counts on her Grandpa Bob for advice, love, and that extra push to keep going when the going gets tough.
Given her rich Montana history, it’s easy to understand why her end goal is to practice medicine in her home state. She noted, “I am committed to practicing osteopathic medicine within the Pacific Northwest. This scholarship defines exactly who I am and how I’ve always dreamed to practice medicine. I grew up in a small town in Montana centered around a hardworking family. I’m a Montana girl, through and through”.
Excelling in sports isn’t the end of Brittney’s talents. She volunteered with the Lebanon Boys and Girls Club which is an after school program that is very active in Lebanon. Her focus during her time there was to teach students about varying topics related to aspects of health. She worked with them on modifying their lifestyle through nutrition, exercise, sleep, and other means. Her reference stated, “ This is something that speaks to her heart because it is the very reason that she wanted to become a physician; to help her patients attain and maintain their health through simple means of how we nourish our mind, our body, and our spirit”.
Brittney is the definition of “giving back to the community”. She coaches, teaches, contributes to research, and volunteers to fill leadership roles. Along with her other projects, she mentors student athletes from the Oregon State University as the DO 2019 Student Leader Liaison for the OSU Athletics Healthcare Pipeline Program. She works one-on-one with student athletes advising and preparing them as they begin their journey into medicine. She is also a teaching assistant in the Essentials of Clinical Medicine course at COMP-Northwest.
Brittney is “energetic, caring, a leader and a teacher. She is the kind of person I would choose as my personal physician”. I think we can all agree that she will indeed make a fine DO and her patients will be fortunate to know her.
Congratulations, Brittney, and thank you for all your fine work in the community. Job well done.
Ella Kuchmiy, Washington State, PNWU, WOMA Scholarship
Ella’a family immigrated here from the Soviet Union. She is fluent in 3 languages; Ukrainian, Russian, and English as her third language. Prior to matriculating at PNWU, she had the opportunity to volunteer at HealthPoint Community Health Centers in King County for multiple years serving underserved populations. She states, “this opened my eyes to the need of healthcare in the local community”. She also volunteered at mobile medical clinics in the Ukraine during a two month stay. During this time, she “met people who had never seen a physician in their life”. She has seen the need, and hopes to fill it as a Physician.
Ella has also participated in activities within her church, which she hopes to continue. She taught Sunday School, Teen School, and was part of the choir. She believes “these activities allowed me to connect with people in a different way and were a way for me to refocus and reset. I am also the first in my church community to attend medical school and hope to serve as a motivator for other Slavic-immigrant children to pursue their educational dreams”.
Ella came highly recommended for this scholarship. One of her recommendation letters states, “Few have shined in leadership as Ella has. She has been a leader, teacher, and servant. In all of her activities, she has contributed to the maximum capacity. She is reliable, hard working, and caring. No matter where she goes, she is a natural leader that will impact the lives of others”.
Another stated, “Ella is a truly unique and outstanding young lady. She is dedicated, creative, committed to serving people as a physician, takes initiative, and has a remarkable background of experience. As club president for the campus chapter of the Christian Medical and Dental Association (CMDA), she organizes events both on and off university grounds. This is also true as vice president of the Diagnostic Medicine Club. She is a student ambassador for PNWU. Ella has taken part in a Life Choices Tour, shadowing with Yakima Regional Hospice and Family Healthcare of Ellensburg, traveling to the capitol to participate in DO Day in Olympia Washington, volunteering at Rod’s House (a drop-in resource center for homeless youth in Yakima), participating in Interprofessional education via the YVIPEC Global to Local Health Innovation Lab, and many other activities in medical school, too numerous to mention”.
Ella is founder and president of R.E.A.C.H. (a University of Washington student organization: Reaching out, Encouraging others, Accepting the Call, Committing to Christ, Honoring God), WISE co-president (Women in Science and Engineering), and served as a Page for the Washington State House of Representatives.
Ella says it best when she states, “My passion for service extends to the streets of Yakima and Seattle. I have had the opportunity to participate in breakfast outreaches in both areas serving the homeless population. I completed an outreach to a homeless tent city, elderly home, and local community while on summer break. I see myself continuing these involvements and finding ways to incorporate my medical training. I am excited to continue implementing Osteopathic Medical Philosophy and treatment in caring for patients and daily in life. I plan to make a difference and provide relief to promote health”.
We believe you, Ella. Congratulations on a job well done.
Gregory Herting, Alaska, Touro University, AKOMA/Alaska scholarship
When reading Gregory’s essay questions, which he submitted in compliance with the requirements of this scholarship, the one thing that really stands out is the way he consistently states, “my community”, when referring to Alaska. It is clear that Gregory’s roots run deep in the state of Alaska, and this is where he intends to return, to serve the underserved.
Born and raised in Fairbanks, Alaska, Gregory played basketball, baseball, football, and soccer. He states, “I am a big proponent of an active lifestyle, and want to support and build many different avenues to a healthy and active lifestyle for adults and children in my community. I know that this personal passion of mine will serve to improve my community’s health outside of my work as a physician. In a more tangible way, my training as an osteopathic physician allows me to bring techniques to rural communities that may help them alleviate symptoms that come with common illnesses”.
Gregory received many positive responses from his peer reviews. The following are a couple of these responses.
“In contrast to a typical ‘Type A’ medical student, who may try to dominate discussions or show off their knowledge, Greg’s quiet demeanor and well-thought-out responses help the team discuss problems calmly and efficiently, without devolving into heated arguments”.
“Greg has such a great attitude and brings a really positive vibe to our group. He helps work through problems to understand why an answer is correct instead of just accepting that it is the right answer”.
Gregory volunteered many hours in the emergency room at Providence Hospital. They stated, “His dependability, enthusiasm, and genuine desire to learn and help, made him a favorite among the staff, and with his fellow volunteers. From the beginning, his friendly, outgoing, enthusiastic nature made him a standout among his peers. This made him a natural leader. Greg was a self-motivated, mature, and determined individual who was serious about his education and followed through with his commitments”.
During his time at Touro, Gregory has made time to actively participate in the TUCOM Global Health Program (GHP). He will be doing a GHP summer internship in Tanzania, Africa this summer. In Africa, he will be offering himself for volunteer work to help promote healthcare in the underserved community. Gregory’s passion for service prompted him to take on a leadership role to manage the finances for the Tanzania program. In addition to helping coordinate a silent auction on campus, he also created a GoFundMe page to raise money for purchasing medical supplies which will be donated to the Shirati community.
It was said of Gregory that he “has excellent innate leadership skills, is always pleasant, helpful, respectful, and professional when interacting with peers, faculty, and staff members. I have been inspired by his compassion”.
Gregory states, “As a physician, I want to be a role model, leader, and make a positive impact in my community”. It sounds as if you are already there, Greg. Congratulations on a job well done.
Hugo Araujo Lino, Idaho, PNWU. A.V. Jackson Scholarship
Hugo moved here from Mexico, and grew up in a small farming community in Bruno, Idaho. He is the first physician in his family, and, after completing his 3rd year surgical rotation, it was noted that “for weeks after he was gone the nurses and techs commented how much they appreciated him, and his ability to contribute in a meaningful way.”.
“Even as a busy PNWU student, Hugo has volunteered in numerous ways to benefit those in our local community that are health care disadvantaged – from volunteering at our local free clinic (Union Gospel Mission), to leading a Diabetes Prevention Clinic for Spanish speakers, to hosting a radio program in Spanish to discuss healthy eating and exercise, to participating several years in an outreach program on healthy habits for local 2nd grade students from a very impoverished neighborhood. These activities not only illustrate his commitment to providing medical services and information to underserved communities, but also demonstrates his leadership skills”.
“Hugo demonstrated that he is hard working, dedicated, honest beyond reproach, unassuming, witty, meticulous, compassionate, and intelligent. He was a joy to interact with every day. He truly has a heart to help others in need of quality health care”.
Hugo has been accepted into the NMF Primary Care Leadership Program. Participation in this very competitive program should have far reaching benefits to the Northwest communities he serves in the future.
Congratulations, Hugo, on a job well done. The NW Osteopathic Medical Foundation looks forward to seeing you accomplish your dreams. The Pacific Northwest will no doubt be a healthier place because of you.
Matthew Johnson, Oregon, COMP-Northwest, Floyd Henry Scholarship
Matt feels very strongly that his solid upbringing in Salem, Oregon, gives him the ability to say with 100% certainty that he intends to practice as a DO in the Pacific NW. Oregon is where his roots run deep, among the Hazelnut Trees his family grows, and where his love for hard work began.
One of the beliefs that Matt holds is that a DO’s job does not end when he leaves the clinic. He believes his contributions to the community will be key in several capacities. He has been volunteering for the last 4 years at the Salem Free Clinics, where they provide medical, dental, and mental health services at no cost for uninsured patients. Matt works there as a Clinic Assistant, and is highly regarded by their providers. He is noted for treating each person “with dignity and respect, often asking ‘What else can we do for this patient?’”.
Because of his “superior performance as a clinic assistant”, Matt has served as a mentor to others desiring to serve in the same position. He has been observed to “patiently and kindly explain philosophy and processes to the inexperienced applicants. Matt produces well-trained, confident clinic assistants”.
Described at the clinic as being “very bright, amiable, personable and well-rounded”, he is committed to his community and contributes his time and effort into making his community a better place for all. “Matt has shown (an) amazing sense of responsibility, maturity and passion for helping others in need. He has a gentle and caring demeanor. He has dedicated his time and effort to help homeless, uninsured and the marginalized population in the Salem area and has shown a strong sense of commitment, dedication and strong ties to the Pacific Northwest. Caring, thoughtful and kind, he will make an excellent physician”.
It was noted that “Matt is particularly interested in a career in Internal Medicine. He participates in the Chronic Care Longitudinal Track of his curriculum. This track gives the student opportunities throughout their four years of being exposed to different aspects of managing chronic conditions. He is the current president of the Internal Medicine Club at COMP-Northwest, and has been a key part in growing this fairly new club on campus. His dedication is reflected in the IM Club activities that have started flourishing under his leadership”.
Along with all his hard work at the Salem Free Clinics, he also finds time to volunteer with the COMP-Northwest Lebanon Health Careers Ladder program, where medical students and staff work with local children to encourage them not only to simply stay in school, but to pursue health careers. He volunteered at the Asian Community Health Fair and educated attendees on diet and exercise.
Most recently, he has developed an interest in political advocacy. “We need more people like him in our DO ranks. He participated in the OMA’s ‘Day on the Hill’ in Salem, to advocate for issues pertaining to patient care, public health and physician reimbursement and well being”.
With words used to describe him as “kind, considerate, hardworking and well respected by peers”, the state of Oregon can look forward to having this native son become a well known and respected Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. Congratulations, Matt on a job well done.
Whitney Wolfe, Oregon, COMP-Northwest, Willis Women’s Scholarship
Whitney Wolfe, a COMP-Northwest student, is the recipient of the 2017-2018 Willis Women’s Scholarship. Whitney hails from Bend, Oregon.
Whitney states, “Just as the osteopathic principles indicate how each piece of the body, mind, and spirit are integral to the whole, I believe as an osteopathic physician I hold this same amount of importance in a healthy community. Whether it is my role as an osteopathic family physician, mentor, friend, mother or wife, these relationships mean everything to me. Be it helping with a neighbor’s garden, going on a walk with a friend or volunteering at the community center to teach cooking classes, these are all examples of the ways I have contributed to my community using osteopathic principles”.
Whitney has played the viola since the tender age of 10. She believes music is “medicine to the soul”. “Healing with song and forging unbreakable relationships with local musicians all throughout the state of Oregon have become lifelong passions of mine”.
Whitney has represented COMP-Northwest nationally on the Council of Osteopathic Student Government Presidents, and the American Osteopathic Association House of Delegates. Locally, she serves on the Council of Leaders along with other class officers as well as on the Western University of Health Sciences Student Senate. It was stated that, “Whitney is a great team member, supporting her classmates and other leaders on different initiatives and events, towards the greater cause of student engagement and development of the osteopathic profession. She is also creative and a visionary, always looking for ways in which she can bring positive and progressive change to our system and institution”.
Among other things, she has served on the student OPSO board and as a lobbyist during DO day in Salem. In 2016, she served at DO day on Capitol Hill. She has taken an active leadership role with the AOA, SOMA, OPSO, OPAC, and the GOAL program. “Whitney Wolfe is an exceptional student and will make an outstanding Family Medicine physician. She is clearly a future leader in our profession”.
She came highly recommended, with statements such as, “She aptly demonstrates attention to detail while providing compassion and excellence, truly caring for patients as their best advocate. She is a well-rounded individual, attaining to a balanced lifestyle with excellence in all areas”.
Congratulations on a job well done, Whitney! We look forward to seeing great things come from your time at COMP-Northwest.
Patrick Erickson, Oregon, COMP-Northwest, Wonderful World scholarship
Patrick felt there was no other choice than to attend COMP-Northwest, which seems to be the “phoenix from the ashes” of osteopathic medicine in Oregon; from the demise of the Eastmoreland Hospital to the rise of COMP-Northwest, with many of the same people on the faculty of both institutions. Patricks father was also a DO, so he grew up in the Portland Osteopathic community.
He left Oregon briefly to achieve, not only a degree in Education, but to travel to South Korea, where he taught English to a group that had only a rudimentary knowledge of the English language. This encouraged him to expand his ability to communicate, and this began his understanding that he was called to educate and help people. The most logical next step, was to obtain a medical degree, and there was, for him, no other choice but to be a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine.
Along with being a healer, Patrick also recognizes his responsibility to support his community. In doing so, he states, “I hope to contribute to my community by supporting education. This can take many forms from volunteering at a community health fair to running for a school board. Medical education, specifically curriculum reform, is a passion of mine. It is the unique combination of my education in philosophy, teaching, and medicine that drives me to want to improve the process for future osteopathic students”.
Patrick is a member of the OPSO Council of Medical Students. It is reported that “in this role, he stresses the importance of student involvement in advocacy for the osteopathic profession, contribution to the community, and advancement of the principles and practice of osteopathic medicine”. Patrick has “emerged as a student leader through his initiative, commitment to the osteopathic profession, and his genuine interest in supporting the state osteopathic’s work. He has taken the lead in organizing the ‘Tools of the Trade’ program at COMP-Northwest, which provides a medical bag for each incoming student. The bag is a donation from members of the local community and he not only works to ensure the program continues in the future, but he understands the significance of this contribution and helps his fellow students in recognizing the community for their support to the program”.
Patrick also “serves as a student advisor to the OPSO Board of Directors and ensures the student perspective is provided when association issues are discussed. He has shown true leadership by not only having the courage to voice concerns from the student perspective, but has also shown an ability to listen to others with thoughtful consideration”.
He is a “dedicated, conscientious, and thoughtful person, who embraces leadership opportunities in his profession”.
Congratulations, Patrick, on a job well done!
Nichole Aker, Oregon, COMP-Northwest, Willis Women’s Scholarship
Nichole Aker is our 2017-2018 Oregon recipient of the Willis Women’s Scholarship.
Nichole is currently a student at COMP-Northwest and came highly recommended for this prestigious award. She volunteered as a Doula, providing physical, emotional, and informational support to women and families during labor, delivery, and postpartum. Preceptors and their patients have commented on Nichole’s positive attitude and natural rapport with everyone she interacts with.
She was noted as being “a natural leader, active both at school, in the community, and politically, despite her busy schedule of being a medical student and a mother of a newborn. She serves as our school’s Vice President of the National Student Society of American College of Osteopathic Obstetricians and Gynecologists. She was the president of COMP-NorthWest OB-GYN club, and she has assisted me at the Annual Asian Family and Service Center’s Health Fair. She used her skills in the Chinese language to help interpret and provide counseling to the community participants. It was truly amazing to watch her use a foreign language that she worked hard to learn and apply it flawlessly. She has volunteered as a student doctor at the East Linn Community Clinic where she has provided free healthcare for the low income patients of Lebanon, Oregon”.
Nichole served as the Associate Executive Director for PDX Doulas, who partners with Oregon Health and Science University Hospital (OHSU) to provide volunteer professional labor support services on the labor and delivery unit. OHSU calls upon PDX Doulas to serve a wide spectrum of patients, including those with high-risk medical issues, with a history of abuse, and those with language barriers. The Executive Director notes Nichole “took the initiative to deepen our ability as an organization to anticipate and meet the needs of the birthing families we serve. She taught continuing education sessions as part of our ongoing training during regular staff meetings. She provided leadership for the organization as a whole and helped to guide the development of our doula team. She made herself available when volunteers had questions and when unforeseen challenges arose for the volunteers she led. She also sought out ways to help our organization thrive beyond the requirements of her position. Nichole exemplified maturity, great heart in her service, and the essence of our mission statement, “the gold standard of doula professionalism in a spirit of collaboration with healthcare providers”.
Nichole has deep roots in the Pacific Northwest and will, along with her husband and child, “continue to give back to the community that has given so much to me”.
Congratulations Nichole. The Foundation is thrilled to have learned about all your hard work in the field of mothers and babies. Job well done.