Medical Student Annie Le Named STFM Student Scholar Award Recipient

Award presented in recognition to her strong commitment to family medicine through scholastic, volunteer and leadership pursuits

Annie Le, Class of 2019

RIVERSIDE, California – Annie Le, a second-year student at the UC Riverside School of Medicine, has been selected as a recipient of the Medical Student Education Scholarship by the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM).

The scholarship was awarded to Le in recognition of her “strong commitment to family medicine through scholastic, volunteer and leadership pursuits,” and acknowledges her “potential for a career in academic medicine.” It will provide support for her to attend the 2017 Conference on Medical Student Education that will be held February 9-12, 2017 in nearby Anaheim, California. She receives waived conference registration, complimentary membership to the STFM, and $500 to cover conference expenses.

Le will represent the School of Medicine at the conference with a poster sharing the results of her summer project to assess and address the environmental health challenges faced by residents in the South Los Angeles community of Watts.

Le received the Arnold P. Gold Student Summer Fellowship to conduct the project with Drs. Jyoti Puvvula and Gilberto Granados of Harbor-UCLA Department of Family Medicine, the organization Physicians for Social Responsibility – Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Human Right to Housing Collective. The environmental health assessment provided data to support a campaign demanding government agencies to prioritize the health of residents by testing for and mitigating soil pollutants like lead, arsenic and other heavy metals.

“Having faced historical neglect and ongoing environmental injustices, Watts has the lowest life expectancy and ranks in the top 5% most pollution burdened among all California communities,” Le said. “Residents in Jordan Downs public housing are particularly at risk. As the city plans to replace these units, residents may be affected by the contaminated soil being disturbed in demolition and, additionally, by the potential of displacement.”

Le added that her poster and presentation demonstrate how medical schools can teach their students about structural competency, that is, how sociopolitical and economic forces produce and maintain underserved populations. Improving the health of the medically underserved through innovative research and health care delivery is a key component of the UCR School of Medicine’s mission.

“I am excited to represent the UCR School of Medicine and to promote teaching of structural competency ,” she said. “I believe this perspective can help medical students better understand the contexts in which our patients live, and become empowered to work with community groups addressing the systemic causes of health disparities.”

“I am pleased that Society of Teachers of Family Medicine has recognized the Annie’s unique qualities and strengths. She is an exceptional example of what makes our students so special,” said Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education Dr. Paul Lyons, who, along with Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs Dr. Michael Nduati, nominated Le for the award.

“Annie Le is a shining example of how our students are growing to become the health care leaders of the future,” Nduati added. “The Society of Teachers of Family Medicine is making a significant impact on the development of our nation’s primary care infrastructure. To be selected for this award is a tremendous honor for both Annie and UCR.”

Le completed her undergraduate work at UC San Diego, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in human biology and minors in history and health care-social issues. She then went to UCLA to earn a master’s degree in public health with an emphasis in community health sciences before coming to UC Riverside in 2015 to begin her medical education. She currently leads health promotion research at the San Bernardino Free Clinic and is co-president of the UCR SOM Family & Preventive Medicine Interest Group.

 

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