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June 28, 2007

SOPHIE DAVIS GRADUATES GISEL DIAZ AND AKEEM MARSH RECEIVE 2007 REGENTS HEALTH CARE SCHOLARSHIPS

NEW YORK, June 28, 2007 – Gisel Diaz and Akeem Marsh, members of the Class of 2007 at The Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education at The City College of New York (CCNY), have been awarded New York State Regents Health Care Scholarships for Medicine.  Both students are transferring to the SUNY Downstate Medical Center to complete the final two years of their medical studies.

The Regents Health Care Scholarship Program, which aims to help increase the number of minority and disadvantaged persons in the medical and dental professions, awards up to 100 scholarships annually to students at New York State medical and dental schools. Awards run up to $10,000 annually and are renewable. 

Recipients must complete a public service requirement after licensing. They are required to practice for at least 24 months in an area or facility within New York State designated by the state Board of Regents to have a shortage of physicians or dentists.

“This is definitely going to help me complete my degree,” said Ms. Diaz, who came to the United States at age eight from the Dominican Republic, attended LaGuardia Hgih School and now resides in Manhattan’s Lower East Side.  “My parents are unable to support (my studies) …so I’ve got to make my own way.”

When she completes her medical studies, Ms. Diaz plans to enter family practice with a specialization in adolescent medicine.  At the Sophie Davis School, she was a Leonard Davis Fellow and received the Allen Seelig Memorial Award.  She also volunteered with At Arms Reach, a program that tutors children whose parents have been incarcerated, and is a member of Physicians for a National Healthcare Program.

“This scholarship is a very good thing.  It goes right along with the mission of The Sophie Davis School to contribute to the health care of underserved communities,” added Mr. Marsh.  The Bronx resident, who attended St. Raymond High School for Boys, wants to pursue a career in pediatrics and academic medicine after completing his medical studies.

At The Sophie Davis School, Mr. Marsh was Vice President of the Student Government and a Leonard Davis Fellow whose service project involved working at the City College Child Development Center.  He also served as an admissions aide and student interview and volunteered for Harlemween, an annual children’s event sponsored by the Finley Student Center at CCNY.

Last summer, he conducted a research project on HIV and AIDS care at primary care clinics in South Africa.  During spring break in 2006, Mr. Marsh was part of a group of Sophie Davis students who went to New Orleans to volunteer in local clinics dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

About The Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education

Founded in 1973, the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education at The City College of New York offers a unique, seven-year B.S./M.D. program that integrates an undergraduate education with the first two years of medical school.  After five years at Sophie Davis, students transfer seamlessly to one of six medical schools – Albany Medical College, Dartmouth Medical School, New York Medical College, New York University, SUNY Downstate School of Medicine or SUNY Stony Brook School of Medicine – for the final two years of medical education and their M.D. degree. 

The School's mission is to increase accessibility to careers in medicine for inner-city New York City youth, especially minorities underrepresented in medicine, and to train primary care physicians to serve in medically underserved communities.  At a time of declining enrollment of underrepresented minorities in medical schools across the country, around 40 percent of Sophie Davis’ approximately 360 students are African-American or Hispanic, representing diversity unparalleled at other U.S. medical schools. 

About The City College of New York

For 160 years, The City College of New York has provided low-cost, high-quality education for New Yorkers in a wide variety of disciplines.  Over 13,000 students pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the School of Architecture, the School of Education, the Grove School of Engineering, the Center for Worker Education and the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education.

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