These awards consist of five scholarships given to 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 demonstrated leadership efforts in addressing educational, societal, and health care needs of minorities in the United States.
Yvorn Aswad, a third-year student in the Drew/UCLA Medical Education Program, is committed to using medicine as an avenue for social and racial justice.
Yvorn is dedicated to seeing how physicians can help demolish the cradle-to-prison pipeline. A member of the University of California Criminal Justice and Health Consortium, he is currently doing research on the health outcomes of youth immediately post-incarceration.
Raised in South Los Angeles, his early exposure to substance abuse and homicide inspired him to draw the connection between them and health and social inequality. He could see how social conditions contribute to morbidity and mortality. Attending King/Drew Magnet high School of Medicine and Science in Watts, LA, he learned that these occurrences were indicative of the disproportionately adverse health outcomes that affect people of color in the United States and the poor. This gave him the drive to focus on areas of social injustices that limited life expectancy.
He matriculated to Stanford University to study health disparities, and in 2011, he graduated with a major in human biology and minor in African and African American studies. Reflecting on his own difficulties with navigating the spaces of privilege as well as the level of academic rigor of college, upon graduating he worked as a fellow in the Stanford Office of the Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education to co-create the Leland Scholars Program. This program was designed for incoming first-year undergraduates from low-income and ethnic minority backgrounds who planned to study science Using cross-disciplinary research from the Stanford departments of psychology and chemistry and the Graduate School of Education, he helped design a curriculum that addresses both the academic and the psychosocial barriers that inhibit student success in the sciences. He presented this work at the 2013 National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in American Higher Education and a 2013 Association of American Colleges and Universities STEM conference. He continues to education future generations of science and medicine leaders by serving on the David Geffen School of Medicine Cultural Competency Task Force. Hee is also the immediate past co-president of the Drew/UCLA chapter of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA).
In addition to providing academic and social support for fellow students, Yvorn has done both academic and community based work, focusing on directly ameliorating health disparities. As a research assistant in the Center for Culture, Trauma, and Mental health Disparities, he studied the connection between how interpersonal and racial traumas can manifest as somatic symptoms. Yvorn is dedicated to seeing how physicians can help demolish the cradle-to-prison pipeline. A member of the University of California Criminal Justice and Health Consortium, he is currently doing research on the health outcomes of youth immediately post-incarceration.
Yvorn is interested in studying trauma, child health, mental health, and in pursuing a career in either pediatrics or child and adolescent psychiatry. He also plans to pursue a master’s in public policy to combine his medical knowledge with a more systematic approach to the interplay of social conditions and health.