Welcome back to our #SNMAExcellence Series!
In this series, we are going to be routinely featuring both SNMA chapters and members that have displayed excellence through academic endeavors, community service, leadership roles, and/or research activities. If you feel that you or your chapter represents the excellence that the SNMA upholds on a daily basis, go on ahead and fill out this form! #SNMAExcellence
Name: Corey Thompson
Hometown: Columbus, Ohio
Undergraduate Institution: The University of Kentucky
College Major: Major: Biology; Minor: Spanish
Medical School: The Ohio State University College of Medicine
Favorite Quote: "When the power of love overcomes the love of power, then the world will know peace" - Jimi Hendrix
Email - Corey.firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone - (614) 354-2315
Additional Links: @whatsupdoc_21 on Instagram and Twitter | @headsup_osucom on Instagram and Twitter
Our sixth feature in the #SNMAExcellence series is Corey Thompson, a second-year medical student at The Ohio State University College of Medicine! He has been very active with the SNMA at his school as well as with the diverse community that surrounds him. Apart from serving as a volunteer at a spanish-speaking clinic and serving on the executive board of a group called SHINE (Somali Health Initiative and Nutrition Education), he has helped start a program called HEADS UP (Health Education and Development for Underprivileged Populations), an initiative intended to create a pipeline from elementary school to medical school while also improving the healthcare literacy of underserved populations! His passion for service shines throughout his feature, which he interweaves with the strategies he uses to get through the stresses of medical school and the love that he has for his institution!
Where are you currently at in your career path and why did you decide to pursue this career path?
Currently, I am a second-year medical student at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. In truth, I have always wanted to be a physician. However, there were a few key events that further prompted me to pursue the field of medicine. The most powerful of these was the traumatic passing of my grandmother from pancreatic cancer. I was only 12 years old at the time, and therefore did not quite understand what this diagnosis meant. I thought she would get better with treatment, but three weeks to the day after her diagnosis, my grandmother passed away. Before leaving this earth, she let me know how special I was and that she would be watching over me as I achieve my dream of becoming a physician. I stand here today knowing that I am well on my way in doing so, and that she is smiling down upon me.
How is your chapter exhibiting #SNMAExcellence?
The SNMA Chapter of The Ohio State College of Medicine (OSUCOM) exhibits #SNMAExcellence on a daily basis through character, work ethic, mentorship and outreach. Currently on exhibition is a project we have titled, Health Education and Development for Underprivileged Populations, better known as HEADS UP. This project was designed by a group of M1s in our chapter as a means to utilize our platform for community outreach. The primary goal of HEADS UP is improve the healthcare literacy of underserved populations, and create a pipeline from elementary school into medical school. We found the perfect way to launch such a project.
For the past few years, I have been working with youth at a local non-profit organization called Ethiopian Tewahedo Social Services (ETSS). It provides services to low income families, most of whom are from the immigrant and refugee communities of Columbus, Ohio. They offer both adult and youth services, but we decided to focus our efforts on the youth in the program. We presented the HEADS UP project proposal to the ETSS Youth Program Director who was both very excited and supportive. ETSS has a Summer Enrichment Program (SEP) for ages 5 -13 with a goal of preventing the learning loss that occurs during summer break, and we knew HEADS UP would be an impactful addition to their program. There are eight sites, so we launched HEADS UP at the largest, which has about 80 first and second generation immigrant students from Ethiopia and Eritrea. We worked with the Site Coordinator to establish a schedule where medical students would provide workshops for the youth participants two days per week for two hours each day. The core HEADS UP group created lesson plans on healthy lifestyle choices, nutrition, diseases, bone and muscle anatomy, heart and brain anatomy, health disparities in medicine, and implicit bias amongst physicians. The goal was to plan workshops that are both informative and interactive, so we have provided several hands-on activities for the children, such as heart and brain dissections and a clinical workshop. Additionally, we arranged to have OSUCOM physicians and faculty as guest lecturers for the children.
Our hope is that this experience ignites a love of science and medicine in these children who may otherwise not have been given this opportunity. Additionally, we want to inspire them by seeing med school students and physicians who look like them. We were even able to have an Ethiopian med school student teach a workshop in the students’ native language, Amharic. We think this exposure, along with our mentorship, will help break down barriers and instill confidence to pursue a career in medicine by humanizing the medical profession and physicians.
The summer HEADS UP project at ETSS has been very successful, but we didn’t do it alone. In the spirit of inclusion and collaboration to strengthen outcomes, our group contacted other nearby SNMA chapter leaders G. Kabwe Chilupe and Kennedy Ovenseri of Ohio University Heritage College of Medicine (OUHCOM) Dublin Campus and Morgan Bryant of Wright State Boonshoft School of Medicine, respectively. By working together, we were able to gather volunteers from each of our SNMA chapters, as well as our general student bodies. This was an incredible accomplishment for us, and most definitely beneficial in providing quality lessons for the children of ETSS. In addition to teaching the kids about medicine and healthcare, it was also vital to highlight the importance of diversity in the medical profession and other STEM professions. For that reason, we made certain that each HEADS UP lecture featured a diverse mix of men, women, minority, and LGBTQ medical students. This provides the children with positive role models and experiences that can truly shape the rest of their lives.
What are your biggest accomplishments in medical school to date?
My biggest medical school accomplishments range from academic successes to my conquering of personal goals. Academically, it has always been my goal to continually improve upon my exam scores at the end of each block. I successfully did so this year and averaged around a 3% increase per exam. This was huge in bolstering my confidence going into second year, and is a testament to the fact that medical school is a marathon… not a sprint! There will be stumbles upon the way but keep working hard and figure out what study strategy works best for YOU! Additional accomplishments include my positions as Student Council President both as an M1 and M2, SNMA Admissions Chair, SHINE (Somali Health Initiative and Nutrition Education) Executive Board, HEADS UP Lead Coordinator, and Clinica Latina Volunteer.
How has the SNMA impacted your medical school experience?
Prior to applying to medical school, I had never heard of SNMA, NMA, or MAPS, most likely because minorities were not very well represented at my undergraduate university. Upon speaking with Dr. Quinn Capers IV (Dean of Admission at OSUCOM) and Dr. Leon McDougle (Chief Diversity Officer at OSUCOM), I was schooled to the mission and purpose of SNMA. Subsequent to those conversations, I have been extremely interested in doing all that I can do as a medical student to further that mission, so SNMA has given me another sense of purpose. I chose to attend AMEC this year in order to gain more knowledge about SNMA on a national level, and it was one of the most fulfilling experiences as a first-year medical student. Some may even remember my Region 5 Chant rendition of the M’baku Challenge Day skit from the movie Black Panther. This conference really put things into perspective for me as it pertains to what is possible when minority students get together and push towards a common cause. Attending AMEC inspired me to create the HEADS UP program, and just maybe as a bonus, help OSUCOM become chapter of the year. I will continue to work with my chapter, as well as surrounding chapters to ensure that SNMA Region 5 continues its excellence and representation on the national level.
What is your favorite thing about your school?
My favorite part about The Ohio State University College of Medicine is the amazing job that our Admissions Committee, led by Dr. Quinn Capers IV, has done over the past couple of years. They have effectively transformed the culture at OSUCOM by putting diversity and inclusion at the forefront of our mission as a medical institution. Historically, there has been a sense of isolation for African American males in professional school, unless it is an HBCU, but I do not feel this way at all! We have over 15 Black males in our class of 200 students, and even more Black females! Approximately 26% of our class is of minority status, thanks to the efforts of OSUCOM, and that number is steadily growing. Not surprisingly, this has resulted in increased academic accomplishments, along with student morale! My hope is that our success sets a precedent for surrounding mid-western schools. We have wonderful medical schools in our region, but in talking to some minority students at these schools, they feel ostracized at times, as if they are merely there to fill a quota. This is not the case at OSU, where the goal is to create a class dynamic that is reflective of the general population in regards to race, ethnicity, gender, etc. I hope that we can provide an example for admissions committees across the Midwest and beyond regarding the importance of a diverse medical class in breeding culturally competent, universally intelligent, and all-around happy physicians.
What do you do to get through the stressful nature of school?
Medical school is stressful… there is no real getting around that reality. We have all worked most of our life to have this opportunity, and now it is time to find out if we have what it takes to make it. While grades may seem of the utmost importance, it is vital that we place our own health and well-being at the forefront during this period, which includes our mental, physical, and emotional health. If we do not tend to ourselves, I can guarantee that it will be reflected in our grades. There are a plethora of coping strategies, and we must each figure out what works best. Hopefully, by this time we have found an enjoyable hobby that is not too terribly time consuming. For me, those hobbies include creating music/DJing, hiking, playing basketball, and involving myself on campus.
I have always had a passion for music. It allows my mind to drift away from the task at hand, helping me to recharge my battery and get back to it. In the summer before M1 year of medical school, I purchased turntables as a gift to myself and have since been practicing mixing music. In addition to making music, I also enjoy hiking as an escape from school. It is rather hard to do in Ohio, but I have been able to schedule time during the year to fly out to Colorado, Utah, and Oregon. These trips have been amazing for clearing my head and keeping physically fit. Basketball is another physical activity that re-energizes me, but is much easier to manage on a weekly basis. Lastly, I involve myself in organizations on campus such as Student Council and SNMA. Within these organizations I have been able to give back to the community of Columbus, OH. These experiences help me to put things in perspective and give me a daily reminder of WHY I chose a career in medicine.