If you are reading this, I hope that you are well, and have 4 minutes to find out why I am the best candidate for President Elect of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA).
My name is Osose (Aw-suh-say) Oboh, and I was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. I went to the University of California, Los Angeles and got my BS in Biology in 2013. I went on to get my MPH with a focus in Global Health Leadership from the University of Southern California before going to Charles R. Drew University for a post-baccalaureate program. I am now finishing up my second year at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine.
After all of that, of course you want to know, where does the SNMA come in? I graduated from UCLA without knowing that the SNMA existed. The hardest part of undergrad was the feeling of being alone. UCLA did not have a premed advising office or central place for those pursuing careers in medicine. Each time I would set up a meeting with an advisor, it would take an average of 6-8 weeks (we were quarter system which is 10 weeks long) and it would be a different person who didn’t know me or my story. My parents, who immigrated here from Nigeria, did not know how to help or advise me, and the students of color I started out with in the sciences slowly dwindled. I was one of a handful of African-American students that graduated in the sciences in 2013. I sought out mentorship and support, and even googled “Black doctors Los Angeles” in an effort to find the network I yearned for, but was unsuccessful. I had felt so alone throughout undergrad, and had done what I could to make sure other students of color coming after me avoided the potholes I fell in. I even became known as “Mama Os” since I was mentoring so many students. When I learned about the SNMA a few months after graduating, I was heartbroken. Here I was, a college-grad, discouraged and depressed, finding out that there was a family out there working hard to support pre-meds like myself.
I promised myself that when I got into medical school, I would not only get involved with the SNMA, but also, I would share my skills and talents to make sure more premed students knew that the organization was here to support them.
Before the first month of medical school had ended, I had joined the SNMA (paid for that four year membership with my first refund check!), became a part of my chapter board, joined the Region V RMEC planning committee since my school was hosting that year, and applied for the Regional Future Leadership Project. I got into the RFLP and began to learn more about the history and infrastructure of the SNMA and the ways in which I could contribute to the leadership of the organization.
On a local level, I was able to bridge the gap between the SNMA and our college. My work on the board, and my ability to visually showcase the outstanding work our chapter was doing for our local community and at our school, helped to garner financial support from our institution. Our organization is now the largest and most diverse student organization at our school, and our administration does everything they can to financially support our members to attend regional and national conferences.
I applied and came onto the 2018-19 Board of Directors as the co-chair of the External Affairs National Committee after seeing that it was the best way that I could continue to accomplish the goal I set for myself years before. I worked to highlight the work of our members and chapters, establish new partnerships to aid other committees with their goals, and did my part to further the vision of our president. I aided in working towards the rebranding of the SNMA.
The platform for my campaign is Standing Strong in 2021.
As a self-taught, professional photographer, I know what it means to have a vision both literally and figuratively. I am an entrepreneur, and have supported myself as a photographer using my expertise to capture and highlight the best sides of people and their stories. I want to strengthen and increase the visibility of the SNMA and will use my talents and experience to do so by building partnerships, streamlining communication, unifying programming, improving alumni connection, enhancing member benefits, and strengthening our leadership and the SNMA brand. I understand the importance of keeping things simple and streamlined to be effective, especially as medical students. I have worked part-time the past two years of medical school and managed my school work, extracurriculars, all while investing in myself. I want to ensure that the students that give of themselves to serve this organization so willingly are able to do so while ensuring continuity in the investment they made into the organization. We have protocols, templates, programming, and more already in place, and there is work to be done to make our process flow more efficient.
As your National President Elect, I will spend the year, in addition to fulfilling my duties, conducting a needs assessment to find out where you believe the SNMA needs to improve. I have already started the dialogue, but I need your help to continue. Please click here to send me questions, comments, and concerns in regards to the SNMA and how you think we can improve in order to #StandStrongIn2021. Every contribution matters.
My love for the SNMA has only deepened as I have gotten more involved over the past two years. As someone who sought out the SNMA family, I am bringing a fresh and unique perspective to revitalize the organization. My hope is that you will vote for me, and work along side me, to leave the organization stronger than it has ever been.
Osose Oboh, MPH