09.10.20 Scholarships

AMA Foundation and Vandenberg Health Equity Fund announce Native American Health Equity Scholarship Recipients

The American Medical Association Foundation (AMAF) today announced that Lakita Maulson and Sarah Soderberg are recipients of the 2020 Native American Center for Health Professions (NACHP) Scholarship for Advancing Health Equity at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (UWSMPH). The NACHP scholarship, underwritten by the Vandenberg Health Equity Fund at the AMAF, is awarded annually to medical students at UWSMPH, with preference given to one or more students who are members of a federally or state-recognized Native American Tribe and/or who demonstrate a commitment to address health disparities that impact Native American populations.

The 2020 Recipients of the NACHP Scholarship for Advancing Health Equity

Lakita Maulson, a member of the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa tribe, paused medical school to complete a Master’s in Business Administration degree in August of 2020. Ms. Maulson is now resuming her fourth and final year of medical school in the Fall of 2020.  She is also enrolled in the Wisconsin Academy for Rural Medicine (WARM), which is a specialized MD training track that addresses physician shortages in rural areas — where many Wisconsin tribal communities are located. ­

Ms. Maulson has dedicated her studies to serving tribal populations. Over the course of her medical training thus far, she has completed several clinical rotations at tribal clinic sites. She was awarded a Diversity Supplement Grant from the National Institute on Minority Health Disparities, has successfully navigated the Institutional Review Board (IRB) process and developed, evaluated and disseminated a survey tool for the evaluation of patient perceptions of the clinical breast examination. She was recently peer nominated and selected for the Gold Humanism Honor Society, which recognizes senior medical students, residents and role-model physician teachers for demonstrated excellence in clinical care, leadership, compassion and dedication to service. Beyond academics, Ms. Maulson is the Association of Native American Medical Students (ANAMS) national president-elect (2020-present) and served as the Central Region Representative since 2018.

Sarah Soderberg, a member of the Brothertown Indian Nation tribe, is completing her fourth year of medical school and has a passion for public health, completing a Master of Public Health degree from George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. Ms. Soderberg is actively involved in several health initiatives, including her participation as a Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Association-Dementia Friends Leader and Wisconsin Medical Association-Ambassador. She previously volunteered for local student-run clinics and was a Clinic Coordinator for Share the Health, a free clinic providing gynecologic care to underserved women across the state. Ms. Soderberg’s passion does not stop at practicing medicine. She is also engaged in global health initiatives, completing a Global Health study abroad program in Uganda.

As an aspiring emergency medicine physician, Ms. Soderberg is currently collaborating with the Denver Health Emergency Medicine Residency Program to create a diversity, equity and inclusion curriculum to combat racism in medicine. Outside of her academics, she is a member of the Association of Native American Medical Students (ANAMS) and is a peer wellness program leader. Ms. Soderberg is actively involved in NACHP, participating in several sponsored events, activities and assisting with the recruitment of future Native physicians.

Danielle Yancey, director of NACHP, is thrilled about this new partnership and scholarship opportunity for students.

“Financing medical school can be a significant challenge for students, so the additional support of the Vandenberg Health Equity Fund is incredibly important, especially as costs of medical school increases in the latter years of training,” She said. “Lakita and Sarah are outstanding students and are well deserving of this inaugural scholarship award. Both students have demonstrated the spirit of this scholarship and a commitment of service to improving the health of Native American people and communities, and they are also excellent role models for aspiring future medical students. We are extremely proud of both of them.”

“I’m very grateful for Mr. Vandenberg’s hard work, generosity and dedication in supporting the education of future physicians,” expressed Soderberg.

Lakita joined her in gratitude in saying, “Chi-miigwech (Thank you so much) for this amazing recognition! I am honored to have received this scholarship award and I appreciate the value Mr. Vandenberg and the AMAF, in partnership with NACHP, have placed on assisting aspiring Native medical students who aim to help address the stark health disparities seen within our communities.”

In addition to the NACHP Scholarship for Advancing Health Equity, the Vandenberg Health Equity Fund has endowed the following medical school scholarships:

  • David Jones Peck MD Health Equity Scholarship, established in 2018 by AMA General Counsel Brian Vandenberg in honor of David Jones Peck, MD, the first African American doctor to graduate from an American medical school – Rush Medical College in Chicago in 1847. The AMA was founded in Chicago that same year.
  • DREAM MD Equity Scholarship, established in 2020 and awarded annually to a medical student beneficiary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and/or a first-generation immigrant to the United States.

To learn more about our scholarship program, visit amafoundation.org/programs/scholarships for more information.

Since 1950, the AMA Foundation has been a leader in health care philanthropy with programs that advance public health and medical education. As the philanthropic arm of the world’s largest physician organization, the AMAF has awarded more than $121 million in grants and scholarships, demonstrating nationwide programmatic excellence.


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