Wayne State University School of Medicine medical student Adam Milam, Ph.D., received the Herbert W. Nickens Medical Student Scholarship at the Association of American Medical Colleges’ annual meeting Nov. 10 in Chicago.
The $5,000 scholarships are given annually to five outstanding students entering their third year of medical school who have shown leadership in efforts to eliminate inequities in medical education and health care, and in addressing educational, societal and health care needs of racial and ethnic minorities.
“I could not have been more excited and honored. The award is encouraging in that the AAMC believes that medical students can make substantial contributions to addressing inequities in health and education,” Milam said.
The Baltimore native completed degrees in mental and public health studies, including a doctorate in mental health, at Johns Hopkins University before moving to Detroit for medical school in 2012.
“I have always tried to be an active part of the community and have taken a special interest in addressing health inequities,” he said.
He coordinated the Black Medical Association’s most recent Reach Out to Youth event for Detroit children interested in medical careers. The event is held annually at the School of Medicine. He has volunteered as an HIV testing counselor and was an epidemiologist for the Baltimore City Health Department. He also assisted principal investigators at the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Center for the Prevention of Youth Violence/Maryland Safe and Supportive Schools Project of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. His doctoral dissertation on alcohol outlets and behavioral outcomes in minors has been cited in local and state legislation aimed at reducing crime.
The Class of 2016 M.D. candidate was astonished to learn he was selected for the Nickens scholarship, which is named after the founding vice president of the AAMC’s Diversity Policy and Programs unit. Milam considers himself in good company – Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson, M.D., received the Herbert W. Nickens Award in 2007.
“The awards named after the late Dr. Herbert Nickens are among the most prestigious that the AAMC can bestow. To our knowledge, he is the first Wayne State University School of Medicine student to receive the honor,” said Silas Norman, M.D., associate dean of Admissions, Diversity and Inclusion. “He is an excellent student and very active in the School of Medicine and community service activities. Members of our staff were there to support him in this historic event.”
Dr. Norman, along with Interim Director for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion D’Andrea Wiggins, D.R.E.; Assistant Dean of Student Affairs and Career Development Lisa MacLean, M.D.; Assistant Dean of Basic Science Education Matthew Jackson, Ph.D.; and Assistant Professor of General Medicine Eric Ayers, M.D.; are among the faculty, staff and administration Milam thanked for their support.
“I would also like to thank the members of the Wayne State University School of Medicine Black Medical Society, who have been partners in my outreach efforts and have encouraged and inspired me. Lastly, I would like to thank my family, friends and mentors, who have always pushed me to follow my dreams,” he said.
The AAMC required a personal statement assessing his leadership efforts. Milam discussed his education, outreach and research in Baltimore, and his time in Detroit.
“My passion to address health disparities first sprouted during my employment at the emergency department as a clinical technician at Johns Hopkins Hospital, where I witnessed patients who were gravely ill from preventable health conditions. Many of the patients relied on the emergency department for all of their medical needs and their health often did not improve even with arguably the best medical care in the country,” he said. “My experiences, education and volunteerism … provide a glimpse into my commitment and leadership to ensuring all people have the opportunity to attain their full health potential. Growing up in Baltimore and now living in Detroit, I am able to see health disparities first-hand and I am committed to addressing these disparities.”