06.20.24 Communities

AMA Foundation Announces 2024 Vandenberg Scholars

The American Medical Association Foundation (AMAF) is proud to announce the awarding of five academic scholarships through the Vandenberg Health Equity Fund.

Established by former AMA General Counsel Brian Vandenberg, the Vandenberg fund has pledged over $700,000 to the AMAF Physicians of Tomorrow Scholarship Program. Vandenberg, now serving as Homeward’s chief administrative officer and general counsel, is celebrated for his unwavering commitment to revolutionizing health care accessibility, particularly in rural America.

Scholarship recipient Roxanna Parada expressed her gratitude, stating, “I highly appreciate the opportunity I am receiving through the AMA Foundation. Thank you to Mr. Vandenberg for supporting minority medical students and therefore bettering health within the communities [we represent.]”

The Physicians of Tomorrow program supports outstanding medical students who are dedicated to improving the nation’s health. The foundation honors a diverse cohort of scholars annually, with a spectrum of scholarship categories and focus areas, including several for those traditionally underrepresented in medicine.

“Through the alleviation of financial burdens, the Vandenberg Health Equity Fund empowers students to pursue their aspirations, fostering a health care workforce that is more inclusive and representative of their patients,” stated AMAF Executive Director Virginia Spitzer. “In this pivotal role, these scholarships are instrumental in shaping the future of health care nationwide, ensuring it is attuned to the unique needs of all populations.”

In addition to Parada, recipients include Madeline Brown, Sally Jeon, Jason Jones and Jesse Montoure.

Sally Jeon, University of Minnesota Medical School
2024 David Jones Peck, MD, Scholarship for Health Equity

medical student

The David Jones Peck, MD, Scholarship for Health Equity scholarship honors the first African American doctor to graduate from an American medical school. The scholarship is awarded annually to medical students committed to addressing health disparities and promoting health equity in marginalized and minoritized communities, recognizing and continuing Dr. Peck’s legacy.

Sally Jeon is a fourth-year medical student at the University of Minnesota (UMN) Medical School. They graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, with a major in molecular and cell biology, an emphasis in neurobiology and a minor in education. Their diverse experiences between undergraduate and medical school deepened their passion for community-based health education and advocacy. Most formative during this time was volunteering with the Berkeley Free Clinic, where they provided health insurance and food benefits enrollment, delivered hepatitis and HIV testing and education, and served as a board member to support clinic operations.

Jeon has served in various collaborative roles, delivering workshops with White Coats for Black Lives and the UMN Medical School DEI curriculum. Their focus in medical school research has been on youth, participatory action research with Latinx youth, Aqui Para Ti and opioid overdose with the Health, Homelessness and Criminal Justice Lab, demonstrating their commitment to shared goals and teamwork. Their continual work is to align themselves with communities most impacted by systems of oppression and to explore sustainable strategies in collective healing.

Roxanna Parada, Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine
2024 DREAM MD Equity Scholarship

medical student

The DREAM MD scholarship is awarded to a medical student beneficiary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program or a first-generation immigrant to the U.S. who demonstrates a commitment to public advocacy for the equitable treatment of immigrants.

Roxanna Parada holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and aspires to work in health care by becoming a physician at the Stritch School of Medicine at Loyola University Chicago. Her career allows her to interact with people from diverse backgrounds and continuously learn from their stories, all while working in a field with limitless growth opportunities. During college, Parada gained valuable experience serving as a medical translator and volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House and in immigrant communities.

After moving to Chicago for medical school, she continued to follow her dream of becoming a physician while maintaining her commitment to translating and volunteering. In medical school, Parada researches immunopsychiatry and consults-liaison psychiatry, further broadening her expertise and passion for medicine.

Madeline Brown, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health
2024 Lyle L. Vandenberg Rural Health Scholarship

Medical student

The Lyle L. Vandenberg Rural Health Scholarship is awarded to students at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (UWSMPH), School of Nursing or School of Pharmacy committed to improving access and reducing health care disparities in small towns and rural communities. The AMAF underwrites the scholarship for medical student recipients.

Madeline Brown, a final-year medical student at the University of Wisconsin (UW), is a dedicated and compassionate trainee in the Wisconsin Academy for Rural Medicine (WARM). The four-year program educates medical students committed to improving the health of rural communities.

Brown earned a bachelor’s degree in biomedical science with double minors in chemistry and Spanish at UW-La Crosse. During her undergraduate years, she shadowed medical professionals at Gundersen Health System and participated in medical missions in Guatemala. As a medical student, she has trained in Marshfield, Wis., with clinical rotations in small towns.

Passionate about family medicine, Brown values building strong relationships with diverse patients and promoting healthy lifestyles. She aims to empower patients to achieve their health goals and aspires to teach and mentor future professionals.

Jacob Jones, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health
2024 Native American Center for Health Professions Scholarship for Advancing Health Equity Scholarship

Medical student

The Native American Center for Health Professions Scholarship for Advancing Health Equity is awarded with preference given to medical students at UWSMPH who are members of a federally or state-recognized Native American tribe or demonstrate a commitment to addressing health disparities that impact Native American populations.

Jacob Jones is a Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma member driven by a passion for improving health outcomes for Native Americans. He selected UWSMPH because of the opportunities to become a public health advocate, culturally competent physician and community builder.

Since matriculating, Jones has gained knowledge and skills in providing culturally sensitive medical care through tribal clinic rotations, community-responsive research and engaging lectures. As a medical student, he has actively participated in advocacy to push for legislative changes to improve patient health.

Jones’s research addresses social determinants of health among Native people, building on his undergraduate thesis and ongoing clinical research. He aims to improve the quality of medical care for Native patients through this work. Additionally, he aspires to serve as a child and adolescent psychiatrist in rural settings, responding to the holistic needs of Native communities. His experiences in a rural town and rotations at the Ho-Chunk Healthcare Center have reinforced his commitment to expanding psychiatric care opportunities for Wisconsin Native communities.

Jesse Montoure, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health
2024 Native American Center for Health Professions Scholarship for Advancing Health Equity Scholarship

Medical student

Jesse Montoure is a final-year medical student at UWSMPH. As a first-generation Native medical student, Montoure sought a school that strongly supported Native students, and the Native American Center for Health Professions provided that environment. Additionally, the opportunity to rotate at the tribal clinic in Oneida, where he grew up, was a significant draw. The forward-thinking curriculum appealed to Montoure as an alternative to traditional medical school programs.

Montoure aspires to specialize in neurology and aims to be involved in research, particularly focusing on projects related to his tribe in Oneida. He is also interested in the ethical aspects of medicine and the importance of data sovereignty for tribal nations. Montoure’s inspiration comes from the diverse, dedicated clinical teams he has worked with, each member bringing unique experiences but united by a common goal of helping people.

To support medical student scholarships, visit our donation page.

About the AMA Foundation Physicians of Tomorrow Scholarship Program

The Physicians of Tomorrow Scholarship Program distributes $10,000 in tuition assistance scholarships to medical students approaching their final year of school. The AMA Foundation has a long-standing tradition of supporting medical students. Since 1950, it has awarded more than $61 million in scholarships. With multiple scholarship categories and a variety of focus areas, including serving those underrepresented in medicine, the AMA Foundation works to recognize a diverse cohort of medical students each year. Applications for the 2025-26 academic year open in fall 2024.



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