NMF Hosts 2017 Dr. David K. McDonogh Scholarship Reception in Harlem, NY

On November 2, 2017 National Medical Fellowships (NMF) held the annual Dr. David K.  McDonogh Scholarship in Ophthalmology/ENT Reception at Mist Harlem.  Dr. McDonogh was born into slavery on a plantation in New Orleans, LA in 1821 and became the first African-American physician in Ophthalmology/ENT in New York. He graduated third in his class at Lafayette College, attended Columbia Medical School, and then started his career at The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary. The Dr. David K.  McDonogh Scholarship in Ophthalmology/ENT Fund was created in honor of Dr. McDonogh’s legacy by a committee of 10 New York ophthalmologists and ENT physicians who are dedicated to increasing the number of underrepresented physicians interested in Ophthalmology/ENT programs.  This Fund annually awards two $5,000 scholarships.  Eligible candidates must be currently enrolled in an accredited medical school in the State of New York; from a Black, Afro-Latino or Native American background; be committed to academic excellence, research, leadership and service; and have an interest in a career in Ophthalmology or Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT) specialties.

The 2017 Dr. David K. McDonogh Scholarships in Ophthalmology/ENT were awarded to Dr. Rolake Alabi and Ives A. Valenzuela. These scholars embody embody the four pillars of this scholarship; Academic Excellence, Research, Leadership and Service.

Dr. Rolake Ababi is a Weill Cornell/Sloan-Kettering Tri-Institutional MD-PhD student, and received her PhD in August of 2016. During her Ph.D. studies, Dr. Rolake’s research included working in the laboratory of Dr. Carl Blobel at the Hospital for Special Surgery, during which she investigated organ specific blood vessel development. Dr. Rolake was one of the strongest graduate students and postdocs in the lab over the last 25 years. Her research is published and has been presented at national and international conferences. Dr. Rolake will graduate with her Medical Degree in 2018 and is pursuing a residency in Ophthalmology.

Ives “Tony” Valenzuela is a fourth year student at Columbia University, College of Physicians & Surgeons.  Mr. Valenzuela has pursued several research projects in neurology and ophthalmology, including his current research in Optic Neuropathy and evaluation of Anterior Uveitis. He has an impressive academic background and has demonstrated his eagerness to learn about each patient’s case. He served as Co-Director for Columbia’s Human Rights Initiative Asylum Clinic that provides pro bono medical psychiatric evaluations to asylum seekers. Under his leadership, the organization hosted the Physicians for Human Rights National Student Conference in November 2015. Mr. Valenzuela will receive his Medical Degree in 2018, and is pursuing a residency in ophthalmology.

On behalf of the Board of Directors, NMF would like to thank all of our supporters! A special thanks to the founding committee members: Karen Allison MD, Ann Arthur-Andrew MD, Nneka O. Brooks MD, Jacqueline Busingye MD, Benjeil Z. Edghill, MD, Rondai Evans MD, Chaneve Jeanniton MD, Daniel Laroche MD (Founding Chair), John Mitchell MD, and Dwayne Rollins MD. We would also like to acknowledge Susan Olivo, Executive Director and the Reader’s Digest Partners for Sight Foundation for their generous grant of $10,000 to support tonight’s scholarships. A special thanks to our Silver Sponsors: Mount Sinai Health System- Dr. Gary Butts, Dean; and NYU Langone Medical Center- Dr. Joel Schuman, Chair. We are pleased to announce that Dr. Schuman has agreed to join the academic advisory board, and we look forward to working with him. Additionally, we would like to thank our Bronze Sponsors: Dr. James Auran; Dr. Stanley & Jean Chang; Dr. Leon Herndon; Johnson & Johnson; New World Medical; Dr. Kenneth Wald. We also want to thank all of the donors who gave smaller amounts.  Your contributions helped to make this happen.

There are less than 2% of Black and Latino Ophthalmologist and ENT physicians, meanwhile they represent over 50% of New York City’s population. You can change this statistic by supporting this scholarship to support the next generation of ophthalmologists and ENT physicians.  If you have not contributed, you can contribute here for next year’s scholarship, or send a check to:

National Medical Fellowships
ATTN: Dr. David K McDonogh Scholarship Fund
347 Fifth Ave, Suite 510
New York, NY 10016

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