A 3rd-year medical pupil who’s obsessed with pairing scientific analysis with public well being initiatives has been awarded the Daniel T. O’Connor, M.D., Memorial Analysis Grant

The grant is awarded yearly to a UC Davis College of Drugs pupil. It is going to permit Samantha Wong to step away from lessons and medical expertise this subsequent tutorial yr and focus solely on analysis. 

“To be chosen for the O’Connor Grant is a big honor. I’m tremendous excited,” Wong stated. “There aren’t a number of alternatives for medical college students to get funded for a whole yr of analysis.” 

Wong is a part of an instructional honors program often called ARC-MD, or Tutorial Analysis Careers for Medical Docs. 

ARC-MD college students are in medical college for 3 consecutive years, then spend their fourth yr conducting analysis. After the analysis, they rejoin medical college for his or her fifth and closing yr. 

The grant is known as for the late Daniel T. O’Connor, a 1974 UC Davis College of Drugs graduate who grew to become an internationally famend physician-scientist and distinguished alumnus for his work at UC San Diego into hypertension and renal illness It offers a month-to-month stipend for dwelling bills in addition to medical insurance. The award additionally consists of funding for analysis, journey bills and entry to mentors. 

The grant is designed to help deserving medical college students whose analysis and fervour for tutorial drugs mirror the values and pursuits of O’Connor: high-quality translational work that emphasizes a multi-disciplinary, collaborative, “bench to bedside” strategy. O’Connor’s analysis gave trainees invaluable abilities in medical investigation, and plenty of fellows and junior college who educated with him at UC San Diego went on to success in pharmacology, biotechnology, nephrology and different areas of educational drugs. 

O’Connor’s widow, Kellie Evans-O’Connor, together with different members of his household, associates and colleagues, established the endowment in partnership with the College of Drugs following his demise in 2014. 

Wong grew to become enthusiastic about science whereas a pupil at Franklin Excessive College in Elk Grove. She already has a protracted record of accomplishments as a researcher. 

Between her junior and senior yr of highschool, she spent a summer time on the College of Florida the place she helped with analysis on sort 1 diabetes. 

Throughout her undergraduate years at Stanford College, she studied the results of coverage, promoting and homelessness on tobacco use, amongst different matters. She stayed at Stanford for graduate college, attaining her grasp’s diploma in neighborhood well being and prevention analysis. 

At UC Davis, she’s spent the previous two years learning dermatopathology with Maija Kiuru, affiliate professor of medical dermatology and pathology. She additionally volunteered on the student-run Paul Hom Asian Clinic and served as editor-in-chief of the UC Davis Well being Pupil Assessment

As well as, Wong gained nationwide publicity in 2020 for successful a worldwide writing award from the Lasker Basis for an essay contest that emphasizes “science is reality.” The title of her essay was: “Fauci: Science as a Voice of Purpose.” 

“Samantha is a exceptional pupil,” stated Luis Fernando Santana, professor and chair, Arline Miller Rolkin Endowed Chair in Physiology & Membrane Biology. He helps lead the ARC-MD honors program. 

“In my 23 years of expertise instructing medical and graduate college students,” he provides, “I’d rank her among the many highest of a protracted record of trainees for the bizarre mixture of abilities she has.” 

Elysia Alvarez, assistant professor of pediatric hematology/oncology

Samantha has a formidable observe report that demonstrates she is on the best trajectory to changing into a profitable physician-scientist.”Elysia Alvarez, assistant professor of pediatric hematology/oncology

For subsequent yr’s analysis challenge, Wong will concentrate on studying about adolescent and younger grownup oncology care in Latin America. Her mentor can be Elysia Alvarez, assistant professor of pediatric hematology/oncology. 

Particularly, Wong expects to: 

  • Discover the affected person expertise of adolescents and younger adults with most cancers by a cross-cultural, world lens 
  • Develop her skilled community of pediatric oncologists, each nationally and internationally 
  • Get hold of skilled mentorship by one-on-one analysis mentoring, and take part in nationwide and worldwide conferences 

Alvarez, a worldwide oncology researcher, appears to be like ahead to the connection together with her mentee. Alvarez believes the outcomes of Wong’s anticipated analysis can have the potential to “considerably affect” the medical care and outcomes of adolescent and younger grownup sufferers with most cancers world wide. 

“Samantha has a formidable observe report that demonstrates she is on the best trajectory to changing into a profitable physician-scientist,” Alvarez added. 

Wong is raring for her analysis yr, which begins June 1. 

“I feel if you happen to speak to any medical pupil, they’ll inform you that discovering methods to achieve success in class – and nonetheless participate in analysis, extracurricular actions or have a work-life steadiness – will be actually difficult.” 

She added: “To have the ability to commit a complete yr to exploring analysis and constructing my toolkit of abilities, particularly on a challenge that I’m very enthusiastic about, is mostly a once-in-a-lifetime alternative.”


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