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June 7, 2011

The American Medical Association (AMA) Foundation is proud to announce Sheena McDaniels of Rush Medical College, as a 2011 Minority Scholars Award recipient. As one of only 13 medical students in the country, she will receive a $10,000 scholarship in recognition of scholastic achievement and commitment to improving minority health.

Sheena McDaniels is a first-year student at Rush Medical College in Chicago, Ill. She has overcome much adversity to follow her dream of becoming a physician. Her service to the community began early, when she volunteered throughout high school at the National Runaway Switchboard organization as a crisis counselor, mediator and youth advocate. At DePaul University, she received a competitive chemistry department graduate assistantship, and gained experience in the research lab. After graduating with honors and awards, she taught chemistry as an adjunct instructor at Chicago area institutions. During medical school, Sheena has taken an active role in two student-run free clinics and serves as secretary of the Student National Medical Association.

The Minority Scholars Award, given in collaboration with the AMA Minority Affairs Consortium, with support from Pfizer Inc, promotes diversity in the medical profession and helps with the rapidly rising cost of medical education. The awards recognize scholastic achievement, financial need and commitment to improving minority health among first or second-year medical students in groups defined as historically underrepresented in the medical profession. Less than seven percent of United States physicians fall within these groups, which include African American/Black, American Indian, Native Hawaiian, Alaska Native and Hispanic/Latino.

"This program not only provides high impact scholarships to alleviate soaring medical student debt, it also recognizes outstanding individuals who excel in academics, community service and leadership," said Barney Maynard, MD, AMA Foundation President. "Ms. McDaniels has made the commitment to pursue the elimination of health care disparities, and she will be on the forefront of this issue as we seek solutions to health inequalities."

The AMA Foundation has made it a priority to help medical students handle the rising cost of their education. On average, future physicians graduate approximately $158,000 in debt, and in many cases the debt load is much higher. A large debt burden may deter many from practicing primary care medicine or practicing in underserved areas of the country.

The AMA Foundation, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt foundation, is committed to improving the health of Americans through philanthropic support of quality programs in public health and medical education. Visit to learn more.

Photo caption: Sheena McDaniels, winner of the AMA Foundation's 2011 Minority Scholars Award

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