The Build and Belong News

February-March 2017 Issue
Dear GUSOM Students, Faculty & Staff:

Welcome! In this quarterly edition of the Build and Belong Newsletter (BB NEWS), we are pleased to feature three important spotlights. The first will be on a new student club on campus - The Medical Muslim Student Association (MMSA). The article delves into why this club was created, and what MMSA leaders hope to see for the future of this organization. The mission of the Medical Muslim Student Association Club is to promote advocacy for Muslim students on campus as well as create a space for Muslim students on campus. We are also excited to share a student spotlight on a fourth year medical student- Aisha Harris. In this spotlight she shares the story of her nontraditional path into medicine, and provides some insight on what she would like to accomplish as a future physician. The last spotlight is on the Georgetown Experimental Medical Studies' (GEMS) participation in the Community Health Fair.

Please also check out the newsletter for scholarships, competitions, and upcoming events across GUSOM.

If you would like to submit an announcement or article regarding your department, organization, or club, please email us at
All the best,
Dean Cheng

Save the date(s)! 
  • The HoyaMed Alliance Faculty Lambda Award recognizes a GUSOM faculty member’s enduring commitment to the LGBTQ community at Georgetown University. Tuesday, March 21st 5-6 PM in SW 107. Hors d'oeuvres and beverages will be provided. RSVP here:
  • Health Equity Forum- Access to Justice:  Promoting the Inclusion of
    Both Men and Women in Criminal Justice Systems
    . Georgetown Women in Medicine, Georgetown University School of Medicine Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and the Georgetown University Gender Justice Initiative invite you to attend a Health Equity Forum as part of Health Justice Scholar Week. March 23rd 12:00 - 1:00 PM in W. Proctor Harvey Amphitheater. Lunch Provided. RSVP at
  • Diversity Dialogues in Medicine (DDIM): Navigating Gender in Medicine.  Join the Peer Dialogue Facilitators in a dinner discussion on navigating gender and gender dynamics in the world of medicine on March 27th 4:30-7:30 PM in SEB 3. This event is open to GUSOM Students only. Dinner will be provided! RSVP Optional:
  • Health Equity Forum: Anybody Listening? Real Talk: Resiliency in Medicine. An interactive group discussions facilitated by faculty panel on mental health in medical school. March 28th from 12:00-1:00 PM in SW 107 RSVP Optional:
  • Open Community Space: No agenda. Space as a community to connect, reflect, and process. Members of CAPS team will be on hand to support and listen April 3rd 12:00-1:00 PM in SW 107. RSVP Optional:
  • GUSOM Film Night & Panel Premiering the film The Hunting Ground. Following the film a panel discussion will be held featuring Title IX representatives, Ombuds, & Student Health Counselors. April 3rd 5:00-7:30 PM in Proctor Harvey. RSVP:

This newsletter will include:  

1. Student Profile 2. Upcoming Events 3. Opportunities and Resources for Students 4. Opportunities and Resources for Faculty 5. Good Reads/ Exhibits  6. Featured Event Write-ups 

Interview with Medical Muslim Student Association Leader Nazifa Rahman

MMSA- Medical Muslim Student Association:

Why do we need this?

When creating the Medical Muslim Student Association (MMSA), Nazifa Rahman, second year medical student, and Ushna Ahmad, second year bioinformatics masters program student, recognized the tumultuous political climate of today and decided that Muslim students need to share their own stories and be advocates for themselves, rather than misinformed individuals speaking on their behalf. “When I first came to Georgetown there wasn't a space [for Muslim students] at the medical center, for example, small things like whether there was a prayer room here or just kind of a community to go to pray together” Nazifa recalled.

When asked what the purpose of the Medical Muslim Student Association Nazifa stated that “The purpose of it [MMSA] was to provide a space for Muslims on campus in the medical center, but also create a larger community on campus between Muslims and other student organizations.”

What have they done so far?

Since its inception in mid January, The Muslim Student Association has already had three successful events. The first was a welcome dinner to introduce the wider Georgetown Community to their organization. Open to the entire medical center, guests both Muslim and non-Muslim listened and learned from a speech by Muslim Chaplain Imam Hendi. “It's like really great, we’ve been getting a lot of interest, and so that's really nice to see, and not just from the students but also from the teachers as well.” Nazifa noted.

Their second event was a meet and greet on campus where they wrote letters addressing and responding to an executive order on immigration issued on January 27th banning travel from 7 Muslim-Majority countries. “We were only there for an hour but we had over 100 letters, so there was a lot of support from everyone on campus.”

Additionally, MMSA collaborated with the Undocumented Student Awareness club to host a phone-a-thon where they called their representatives and congressmen. “The purpose of the phone-a-thon was to address pertinent issues of inequality” Nazifa explained.

Nazifa and Ushna have been encouraged by all the support they received from the community in the subsequent months. While the organization currently has 50 members in their subscription it is open to all Georgetown University Medical Students, with the hopes of creating a larger community open for discussion.

What does the future look like for MMSA?

In the future, MMSA would like to host more events that would cover topics of Islamophobia, have interfaith events, and connect with other schools in the DC area. Most importantly, Nazifa added “What I want is for any applicant, especially a Muslim applicant, to have the space for them to know that just because it's a Catholic institution it doesn’t mean that you need to be Catholic.” MMSA hopes to continue to receive support from the Georgetown Community and promote interfaith events on campus.

By: Taylor Williams Class of 2021 at George Washington University and Jasmin Lara Coordinator for The Office of Diversity & Inclusion

Interview with Fourth Year Medical Student Aisha Harris

Transitioning from high school to college can be an uncertain time for many students, especially for a seventeen year old. Aisha Harris had just begun her career aspirations as an engineering student at the University of Michigan.

“I first graduated in ‘07, right when the recession happened. But the recession happened a few years earlier for Flint”, Aisha’s hometown.

While Aisha knew very little about her career choice at the time, she knew that she needed stability.

“My motivation to go into engineering was financial security. That’s all I wanted. I wanted to go into a field that I could get a job.”

Almost a decade from that moment, Aisha, sits patiently, looking off onto the warm February day. Months from graduating medical school, and then weeks from receiving word back on where she will complete her residency.

“It [Medicine] wasn't on my radar, and it wasn't something I felt like I could do. When you’re 17 or 18 [years old], another 4 years of medical school sounds like a really long time, and you’re thinking: Why would I do that when I can make money right out of school?”

Throughout her matriculation, Aisha realized that what she really wanted to do was go into medicine. Senior year of college Aisha pulled herself away from her future career as an engineer and began her new career path into medicine.

“There’s a point [where] you realize that your skillset and your trajectory can benefit a lot of people. Where I’m from a lot of it has to do with exposure, so just being able to expose people to someone successful in the medical field, that looks like them, who came from where they came from, is something I’m really excited about.” She expressed her strong affiliation to the village mentality- which she described as being able to work together to uplift yourself and your surroundings. This idea that she could help those in her community really drove her career aspirations.

Shortly after graduating from University of Michigan with a bachelor degree in chemical engineering, Aisha joined the Georgetown Experimental Medical Studies (GEMS) Program Class of 2013. She completed the GEMS Program and was accepted into Georgetown University School of Medicine, Class of 2017, interested in primary care. Aisha’s path, though non-traditional, shaped her decision to specialize in Family Medicine.

“While I’ve been here I met family physicians that were doing things that I wanted to do or thought were amazing, but the broad spectrum of family medicine opened my eyes.. the flexibility of Family Medicine completely motivates me.”

When it came to giving advice to future and current medical students Aisha wanted students to know that knowing the right people and asking the right questions is important.

“Being curious will get you a lot of answers that you weren’t expecting, and get you a lot of opportunities that may not have presented themselves if people didn't know that you were concerned or curious about something.”

Update! As of Match Day 3/17/17 Aisha will be completing her Family Medicine Residency at University of Illinois College of Medicine in Chicago!

By: Jasmin Lara Coordinator for The Office of Diversity & Inclusion

2016 GEMS Participate in Community Health Fair

On Saturday, November 4, 2016 several members of the 2016 GEMS cohort participated in the Second Annual Alexandria Community Health Fair at the George Washington Middle School in Alexandria, Virginia. The event, mostly the work of the Alliance for Alexandria’s Uninsured, was hosted by more than 60 community based, faith-based and health care partners.  This second annual Fair was funded by several community donors and served roughly 400 adults and children, mostly uninsured residents of the City of Alexandria. 

The Fair included more than 15 preventative health screenings provided by various organizations including dental screens by the Northern Virginia Dental Clinic, hearing and vision screens by the Alexandria Lions Club, glucose and cholesterol testing provide by the Kaiser Permanente Mobile Health Van, and kidney health screens provide by the National Kidney Foundation.  Free flu vaccinations were also provided by Walgreens. The Fair also included opportunities for participants to register for Obamacare and to qualify for primary care benefits funded by the City of Alexandria through the Neighborhood Health organization.

GEMS students served as one of the many volunteers for the event. Given the diverse multicultural background of GEMS students, several students were able to serve as medical translators in Spanish, Khmer, Vietnamese, and Mandarin Chinese. Other GEMS provided general logistic support for the Fair. Collectively the GEMS cohort recognized the need to remain connected to underserved communities. Stanthia Ryan, one of the GEMS volunteer co-organizers, stated “Participation in the event was important for me because it allowed me to take a much needed break from the rigorous GEMS workload and reconnect with the reason why I came to Georgetown. It reminded me of home.”  Another GEMS co-organizer reflected, “Participation from future GEMS cohorts, perhaps in a more substantive manner, could both reinforce our connection to the underserved and allow students to develop more understanding of how we as future clinicians can make a difference in the community.” Continuation of the Fair in future years is uncertain given that it was funded solely by individual donors. Richard Merritt, founding member of the Alliance for  Alexandria’s Uninsured and an organizer of the Fair, was asked by the Alexandria Gazette if the Fair would be repeated. Merritt replied, “If you had asked me that before the election, I would have said I’m not sure. But now, I feel we will need more expressions of community concern and compassion, like the health fair, for our most vulnerable residents, not less.”

Individual GEMS student reflections on the event include the following: 

“Being in a space that seemed so familiar to me-one where I used to guide my mother to get health care- allowed me to reaffirm my commitment to serving disadvantaged populations. I was able to enjoy the many conversations I had with participants as I was guiding them and learning about the community. I hope to continue volunteering at these events as a physician.”
Heng Nhoung
2016 GEMS 

“Participating in the community health fair reminded me who my community really was. As a Spanish translator, I had the privilege of interacting with many Spanish speaking families. Even spending as little as five minutes made it seem like we had always known each other. Each family/individual that I encountered was very friendly and were grateful that I was there to assist them with the activities. There is no replacement for getting to know your community and reminding yourself that you are serving a great cause.”
Jason Chavez
2016 GEMS 

"The energy and enthusiasm that I felt from other volunteers was definitely palpable -- we learned that an event as large as the Alexandria Health Fair required a lot of team-based coordination and flexibility. I enjoyed relaying provider information to many individuals within the community and being a part of the effort to navigate and facilitate access to specific healthcare services."
Yen Phung
2016 GEMS

By: L. Tamara Wilson, GEMS Class of 2017


Hoya Med Alliance Faculty Lambda Award
We are excited to announce a new faculty award presented through Hoya MedAlliance and are inviting all students, faculty, and staff to participate in the Hoya MedAlliance Faculty Lambda Award on Tuesday, March 21st from 5-6 PM.
The HoyaMed Alliance Faculty Leadership Award recognizes a GUSOM faculty member’s enduring commitment to the LGBTQ community at Georgetown University. Nominees will demonstrate excellence in two or more of the six criteria listed on the nomination form surrounding the topics of leadership, mentorship, research, advocacy, understanding, and promotion.

Health Equity Forum- Access to Justice:  Promoting the Inclusion of
Both Men and Women in Criminal Justice Systems

Georgetown Women in Medicine, Georgetown University School of Medicine Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and the Georgetown University Gender Justice Initiative
invite you to attend a Health Equity Forum as part of Health Justice Scholar Week 
Access to Justice:  Promoting the Inclusion of
Both Men and Women in Criminal Justice Systems
Thursday March 23rd, 2017, 12:00 - 1:00 PMW. Proctor Harvey Clinical Teaching Amphitheater, Med-Dent Bldg.
Followed by lunch and discussion, Med-Dent Building Lobby

Contact with questions.

​Kathleen Coogan is the Senior Gender Advisor for the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) and an Adjunct Professor at the Ohio Northern University Pettit College of Law.  She served as lead drafter of the INL Guide to Gender in the Criminal Justice System. Previously she served as legislative counsel to U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a litigation attorney at Sidley & Austin in Chicago, and a counselor at a shelter for victims of domestic violence in Phoenix.

David A. Lewis is a U.S. Foreign Service Officer who has served in Bahamas, Barbados, Mexico, and Pakistan.  Currently, as an INL Program Officer, he oversees rule of law programs in East Africa.  In particular, he manages initiatives in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) that build the capacity of justice sector officials to combat sexual and gender-based violence and provide training to medical, legal, and law enforcement professionals in the preservation of forensic evidence for use as court-admissible evidence.  

Health Equity Forum: Anybody Listening? Real Talk: Resiliency in Medicine

RSVP Optional Click Here

Diversity Dialogues in Medicine Host: "Navigating Gender in Medicine"


Open Community Space

RSVP Optional Here

GUSOM Film Night & Panel

 April 3rd 5:00-7:30 PM in Proctor Harvey
GUSOM Film Night & Panel Premiering the film The Hunting Ground a documentary discussing sexual assault on American college campuses. Following the film a panel discussion will be held featuring Title IX representatives, Ombuds, & Student Health Counselors.


Penn Visiting Clerkship Program for Students Underrepresented in Medicine

Deadline May 12, 2017
th year medical students to explore rotations at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP), Penn Presbyterian Hospital (Presby), and Pennsylvania Hospital (Pennsy) in a number of sub-specialties. The clerkship include both sub-internship and elective experiences in top-ranked residency programs. Students not only have the opportunity to spend time learning first-hand what it is like to be a resident at these institutions, but they are paired with resident and faculty mentors and meet with Residency Program Directors to aid in their recruitment and preparation for the interview season and Match Process. Funding is given to all accepted clerkship students and include up to $1,500 for reimbursement of housing and travel.

Application Requirements and information
The application can be found at All applicants must be rising 4th year medical students and should apply for the clerkship program that correlates to the sub-specialty they are pursuing in the match. We ask for your general information, your curriculum vitae, a medical school transcript, a personal statement/letter of interest, a photograph, and one letter of recommendation. Applications are due on Friday, May 12th and acceptance notifications are given in June.

The Visiting Clerkship Program for Underrepresented Minority Medical Students encompasses numerous opportunities for 4

Program Highlights

  • Each student is paired with a Faculty mentor in an area of their interest
  • Each student will be given the opportunity to have a personal meeting with the Residency Program Director in the program of their interest
  • Funding up to $1,500 for reimbursement of travel and housing
  • Opportunity to interact with current UIM residents, fellows, and faculty at social events
Clerkship Programs include the following:
  • Emergency Medicine Sub-internship
  • Family Medicine Sub-internship
  • Family Medicine Electives
  • General Surgery Sub-internship
  • Internal Medicine Sub-specialty and Ambulatory Electives
  • Obstetrics & Gynecology Sub-internship
  • Orthopedic Surgery Sub-internship
  • Pediatrics Sub-internship
  • Pediatric Subspecialty Electives
  • Plastic Surgery Sub-internship
  • Psychiatry Sub-internship
  • Urology Sub-internship

2017 Rotation Dates (rotation availability varies by specialty)

  • July 3- July 28
  • July 31- August 25
  • August 28- September 22
  • September 25- October 20
  • October 23- November 17
For more information find it at:
To apply go to:


Michigan Health Equity Visiting Clerkship

The Health Equity Visiting Clerkship is a 4-week clerkship sponsored by the Office for Health Equity and Inclusion (OHEI) at the University of Michigan Health System. The aim is to promote the development of medical students interested in health equity and inclusion work.

The Office for Health Equity and Inclusion leads efforts, advises on best practices, and coordinates initiatives to enhance inclusion, increase diversity, and promote equity across the institution for our patients, staff, faculty and learners.

Together with critical stakeholders, we are committed to:

  • Improving the health and wellbeing of those underrepresented and underserved in health care through continuous quality improvement initiatives, health equity research, inclusion science, implementation science, outcomes research and community based participatory research.
  • Creating health equity and inclusion best practices for patient care and pipeline programs for learners, faculty and staff.
  • Transforming health care by creating a climate and culture that promotes inclusion, cultural sensitivity, diversity, and health equity.


See VSAS Requirements

Rotation options:

July, August, September preferred.  For specific dates, see calendar.

Clerkship Details 
OHEI is proud to announce the availability of funds to support Health Equity Visiting Clerkships.

  • Deadline: Applications accepted until slots are filled.
  • Awards Notification: Awardees will be notified on a rolling basis.
  • Funding Process: OHEI and Departments
  • Award Amount: $1,500
  • Housing and accommodations is the sole responsibility of the applicant.



AAMC Mid-Career Minority Faculty Seminar
Faculty & Academic Affairs is coordinating applications to attend the 2017
In support of the development of GUMC minority faculty, the Office of

Deadline March 31, 2017

Apply here:

The Office of Faculty and Academic affairs (OFAA) is excited to provide support for one GUMC Minority Faculty Member to attend the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) 2017 Mid-Career Minority Faculty Seminar. Registration, meals and daily travel to and from the seminar will be supported.

If you would like to be considered for support and are at the rank of Associate Professor or above and identify as faculty who are under-represented in medicine, please consider applying. A faculty committee composed of GUMC previous participants to the mid and junior-career Minority Faculty Seminar program will review applications and make a recommendation to the EVP Office for final selection. The AAMC defines populations underrepresented in medicine as "those racial and ethnic populations that are underrepresented in the medical profession relative to their numbers in the general population.” Please see:

The seminar will be held from June 15-17, 2017 in Washington, DC and is designed for senior faculty who aspire to become leaders in academic medicine, focusing on building skills, networking, and strategizing.  The selected candidates will be asked to attend an OFAA Faculty Development Committee Meeting Fall 2017 to discuss his/her experience at the June seminar and engage with the faculty selection committee for future participants. 

If you are interested in applying to attend the seminar, please send a copy of your CV/Biosketch and one page letter detailing your interest for attending to Priscilla A Furth, Associate Dean for Faculty Development, GUMC by March 31, 2017.

Questions about the program?  Who attends? Please feel free to contact previous participants Dr. Alfiee Breland-Noble and Dr. Amy Park  and/or Dr. Priscilla Furth


Georgetown Medical Student Club Promotes Awareness for Students Without Documentation
Alex Mooney
Read Now

LGBTQ Boomers Still Fear Lack Of Respect From Doctors
Bruce Johansen
Read Now

At a Glance: Black and African American Physicians in the Workforce
Source: AAMC Data Warehouse: Minority Physician Database, AMA Masterfile, and other AAMC data sources, as of Jan. 22, 2014
Read Now

With Role Models, Can Minority Students Change Medicine’s Racial Imbalance?
Karen Weintraub
Read Now

Racial Disparities in Medical Student Membership in the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society
Boatright D, Ross D, O’Connor P, Moore E, Nunez-Smith M.
Read Now

Featured Event Write-ups

"What A Doc Looks Like” Explores Identity Challenges In Medical Careers

Leigh Ann Sham
GUMC Communications

Read Now

“I, Too, Am GUMC” Encourages Reflection, Empathy In Action

Kathleen O’Neil
GUMC Communications

Read Now

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Office of Diversity and Inclusion · Med-Dent Annex Room A-114 · 3900 Reservoir Road · Washington D.C., DC 20057 · USA

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