Wayne State University School of Medicine student Lizbeth Brice is “extremely grateful” for a $10,000 scholarship from the American Medical Association Foundation.
Brice is one of just 13 medical students in the nation and the only one in Michigan to receive the foundation’s Minority Scholars Award, a distinction that she said is both humbling and overwhelming.
“This money is extremely helpful. One of the biggest stressors for me is the ability to pay back my student loans. Medical school is a big financial investment, so being able to direct this money to decrease my loan burden is very satisfying,” she said.
The third-year student grew up on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia. She returned to the United States, her native country, in 1996. She earned a degree in Pharmacy from Howard University in May 2010. Instead of working as a pharmacist, though, she started at WSU that fall, still studying for her pharmacy licensing board at the same time. She passed it, and is a licensed pharmacist.
The Minority Scholars Awards recognize scholastic achievement, financial need and commitment to improving minority health among first- or second-year students in groups defined as historically underrepresented in the medical profession. According to the American Medical Association, 9 percent of U.S. physicians are Hispanic, American Indian, African-American, Alaska Native or Native Hawaiian.
“I think that as the patient population becomes larger and more diverse, cultural competency will become extremely important,” Brice said. “This goes beyond having professionals that represent different races and ethnic groups, but rather making sure that all professionals understand diversity and how to respond to it, with the ultimate goal of improving the patient experience and optimizing patient outcomes.”
She isn’t yet set on any particular medical specialty, but likes the field of Internal Medicine. “I love the idea of following patients long-term and seeing their health improve over time,” she said.
Brice coordinated the WSU Student National Medical Association’s 23rd annual Reach Out to Youth program in February. The free workshop program gives more than 300 Detroit-area children and their parents an inside look at a medical career. She volunteers at the Robert R. Frank Student Run Free Clinic in Detroit and with the Code Blue and Freedom House organizations, providing nutritional and medical information to children and refugees.
“She has excellent people skills and administrative abilities, and is trustworthy. She is destined to make a positive addition to the education and health of the communities that she will serve,” said Silas Norman Jr., M.D., associate dean for Admissions, Diversity and Inclusion.
This year’s awardees include medical students from Harvard Medical School, Vanderbilt University, New York University and the University of Southern California.