NYITCOM at A-State Student Receives RAMP Scholar Award to Perform Research at Columbia University

JONESBORO, AR – Jessika Sanz, a third-year medical student at New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University(NYITCOM at A-State), has received a Research and Mentor Program (RAMP) Scholar Award to perform a research elective at Columbia University during the 2022-23 academic year.

Sanz will spend two months at Columbia’s New York-based campus conducting research under the mentorship of Magdalena Sobieszczyk, M.D., an infectious disease physician researcher at Columbia University School of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City.

“This is a tremendous honor and we are all incredibly proud of Student Doctor Sanz,” said Rajendram Rajnarayanan, Ph.D., assistant dean of research at NYITCOM at A-State. “SD Sanz has been preparing herself by developing a variety of skills at the interface of biomedical and clinical research. This fellowship will catalyze her aspirations to become a top physician scientist.”

The HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN), in collaboration with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health, offers RAMP Scholar grants to provide African American and Latinx medical students with opportunities for independent research along with structured mentoring, project and salary funding, training, and professional development activities. HVTN has expanded eligibility requirements for the coming years to include Native American/American Indian, Native Hawaiian, Asian and Pacific Islander medical students.

Each year, HVTN awards up to nine RAMP grants to U.S. medical students. RAMP Scholars conduct research projects in areas of basic, clinical, behavioral, laboratory, and social science related to the HVTN scientific agenda. Sanz’s project is titled, “Stick2PrEP Cisgender Women/Trans Individuals: Increasing Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) Uptake, Adherence, and Retention in Care, and Understanding PrEP Preferences Among Predominantly Black and Latinx Cisgender Women and Transgender Individuals”

Sanz is a native of Orlando, Fla. and earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Florida before attending NYITCOM at A-State.

Featured Photo: Headshot of Student Doctor Jessika Sanz.

About NYITCOM at Arkansas State University: New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University, located on A-State’s Jonesboro campus, is dedicated to improving access to health care for the underserved and rural populations in Arkansas and the Mississippi Delta Region. Arkansas annually ranks near the bottom among states in overall population health status due to low health indicators including obesity, hypertension and diabetes. The state also ranks near the bottom of states in the number of active physicians per capita and in the number of primary care physicians. NYITCOM at A-State was established in 2016 with the mission of meeting the need for more physicians in this medically underserved area.

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