Sylvia Guerra ’21 is one of five U.S. medical students to receive the prestigious 2019 Herbert W. Nickens Medical Student Scholarship award from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).
The scholarship is awarded nationally to outstanding third-year medical students who have shown leadership in eliminating inequities in medical education and healthcare and in addressing the educational, societal, and healthcare needs of racial and ethnic minorities in the U.S.
“This award is a recognition of the importance of policy work at the intersection of medical education and diversity and inclusion,” Guerra says. “It makes me feel that there is a place for me in medicine and reminds me of the power and importance of the more humanistic aspects of medicine during a time in my career that is ruled by multiple choice tests that are not reflective of the struggles that many people face before they even get to a doctor.
“It's an incentive to keep wrestling with complex ideas without a simple answer, and to do so with the help and support of mentors and peers who seek to do the same. I am grateful for the support of several incredible faculty members without whom I would not have been successful either in my efforts at Geisel or in the context of this award.”
As a Medical Education Scholar, Guerra is interested in the junction of social justice and medicine—her goal is to create more opportunities for medical students to gain cultural competency and humility training along with developing expanded health disparities content in medical school curricula.
Named in honor of Herbert W. Nickens, MD, MA, founding vice president of the AAMC Division of Community and Minority Programs, now the Diversity Policy and Programs Unit, 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.”