On November 5, 2018, at the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) annual meeting in Austin, TX, Catherine Castro, MS3, will be one of six students across the nation awarded with a Herbert W. Nickens Medical Student Scholarship.
Herbert W. Nickens, MD, MA was the founding vice president of the AAMC Division of Community and Minority Programs, now the Diversity Policy and Programs Unit. His work had a significant positive impact on the support that underrepresented minorities in medicine receive, and the Nickens Scholarships aim to continue advancing Dr. Nickens’ “lifelong commitment to supporting the educational, society, and health care needs of racial and ethnic minorities.” Catherine was an ideal candidate for a Nickens Scholarship due to his accomplishments both within and outside of the classroom regarding the elimination of healthcare disparities.
Catherine is a first-generation American whose parents hail from the Dominican Republic. Her desire to become a physician is directly related to her witnessing the barriers and structural racism that prevent people in minority communities from achieving their fullest potential in education, employment, and health. During her undergraduate years (also at the University of Chicago), Catherine was awarded a Potter Fellowship in Community and Social Medicine to support her efforts in helping Latinx patients find health care in the city through the creation of a culturally targeted resource book. Additionally, Catherine was a research coordinator for UChicago Medicine’s nationally renowned Comprehensive Care Program, connecting South Side patients with primary care providers.
During her time at Pritzker, Catherine has taken on leadership positions in both the Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA) and the CommunityHealth Clinic, and in both of those positions has focused on the health needs of immigrants and undocumented persons. She was instrumental in planning the inaugural Black and Latina Women in Medicine Forum here at Pritzker and led a fundraiser for disaster relief after last year’s hurricane hit Puerto Rico. Catherine’s interests in healthcare disparities also motivated to pursue the global health research track. She carried out her SRP project in Panama where she focused on creating greater access to toxoplasmosis gestational screening and carried out a toxoplasmosis medical education intervention for healthcare providers in Panama.
We are proud to have Catherine in our community and feel she is a truly deserving recipient of the national recognition of an AAMC Herbert W. Nickens Medical Student Scholarship.