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Third-year Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) clinical student Tameka Lawrence, MSCR, has been named the inaugural International Medical Schools Coordinator for the American Academy of Family Physicians’ (AAFP) Family Medicine Interest Group (FMIG). Tameka was offered the position in January after voicing her interest in ensuring international medical students were represented in the group.  

“Tameka is a rising star,” said her colleague and recent RUSM graduate Priscilla Auguste, MD, MHS, who lauded her efforts to solidify a new AAFP FMIG position. “She pushes herself constantly to persevere.” In the role, Tameka will collaborate with medical student leaders, including recent RUSM graduate Corey Boggs, MD, MS, (who serves as the AAFP FMIG Liaison to the Student National Medical Association) to improve communications between international FMIGs and to create a sense of community. “We’re creating tips and tools for medical students to fill in any gap between medical schools around the world,” Tameka said.

A health scare with her grandmother introduced Tameka to a medical world that lacks equitable Black representation among physicians. “I was only 11 but I remember looking around and wondering why no doctors looked like me. I knew right then that I wanted to change that.” Her goal is to assist the underserved population in rural communities. “I want them to know they are special and important and that I’m here to help them live life the best they can without any restrictions.”

Finding the Right Fit

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When it came to choosing the right medical school, Tameka said RUSM shined. “It just works when you find the right group of people to support you.” The Alabama native who now resides in Tennessee remembers a childhood surrounded by family who loved playing sports and congregating at church. “We were not privileged but I knew I was loved and cared for, which is why I’m big on helping families in any way I can.”  

The future physician has learned to practice mindfulness and enjoy simplicity, a lesson learned over the last year of restrictions. “I realized it’s all about the little things. Life is not always a bed of roses but that doesn’t mean you should give up because it’s still worth it. I’ve been through tough times, hiccups and have hit some potholes. But nothing is going to stop me from pursuing my dream of helping others.”

 

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In 2020, 91% of RUSM students passed the initial step of the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) on the first attempt. And in 2021-2022, results show yet another strong year for RUSM with a 96% first-time residency attainment rate* thus far. Located on the island of Barbados and with a network of more than 15,000 alumni, RUSM is one of the largest providers of doctors for the U.S. healthcare system. RUSM graduates practice in all 50 states and in Puerto Rico.

*First time residency attainment rate is the percent of students attaining a 2022-23 residency position out of all graduates or expected graduates in 2021-22 who were active applicants in the 2022 NRMP match or who attained a residency position outside the NRMP match.