Student Receives McDonogh Scholarship From Specialty Group

Emery Jamerson’19 received a 2018 Dr. David K. McDonogh Scholarship in Ophthalmology/ENT, an award created to honor the legacy of a man who completed studies at VP&S in the 1800s but was denied a degree because of his race.

Dr. Jamerson was presented with the award in November at a special reception hosted by the National Medical Fellowships, a group that provides scholarships and support for underrepresented minority students in medicine and the health professions. 

The Dr. David K. McDonogh Scholarship Fund was created by a group of New York ophthalmologists and ENT physicians who are dedicated to increasing the number of underrepresented physicians interested in ophthalmology/ENT programs. More than half of New York City’s population is black or Latino but less than 2% of the city’s ophthalmologists and ENT physicians are black or Latino. The fund supports individuals who have black, Afro-Latino, or Native American backgrounds and are enrolled in medical school in the state of New York, have an interest in a career in ophthalmology or ENT specialties, and are committed to academic excellence, research, leadership, and service.

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Dr. McDonogh, who was born an enslaved person on a plantation in New Orleans in 1821, became the nation’s first African-American physician in ophthalmology/ENT. 

Dr. Jamerson will begin a residency in ophthalmology. During medical school, he worked with Lama Al-Aswad, MD, associate professor of ophthalmology at CUMC, and provided free vision exams to at-risk populations in the New York City area through Columbia’s tele-ophthalmology mobile vision unit. He also mentored other students from backgrounds underrepresented in medicine.

“I feel very fortunate to have been recognized by a group of diverse mentors in the field of ophthalmology whom I greatly admire,” says Dr. Jamerson. “Inclusion and representation of all groups is extremely important in medicine, as having a diverse physician workforce engenders trust amongst patients and strengthens the therapeutic alliance between patients and their physician. I hope to continue to increase exposure to ophthalmology among underrepresented communities.”