On January 19th, 2019, the Student National Medical Association (SNMA) at Duke University School of Medicine held its 26th Annual MLK Jr. Banquet. More than 230 faculty members, staff, and students were present to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Dr. Brenda Armstrong and celebrate the great strides Duke has made towards reaching inclusivity.
At the event, SNMA was recognized as a leading organization in the medical school. Members of the organization have planned more than 30 service, outreach, and mentorship events spanning from the elementary to collegiate level.
Highlights of the night included traditional African music performed by the Amandla Chorus at Duke and an empowering keynote address on health disparities by Dr. L.D. Britt, former president of the American College of Surgeons.
Three high school students who excelled in SNMA’s Health Profession Recruitment and Exposure Program were awarded scholarships towards their future endeavors. Rita Kibicho received the Dr. Kevin Thomas Scholarship, named in honor of Thomas, MD, an electrophysiologist and associate professor of medicine at Duke University School of Medicine. Gianni Lacey-Howard and Kayla Howard each received the Dr. Delano Meriwether Award, named in honor of Meriwether, MD, the first black graduate of Duke Medical School, a physician, and former track and field athlete.
Dr. Kwadwo “Kojo” Owusu-Akyaw, a PGY-5 Orthopedic resident, was awarded the Dr. Brenda Armstrong Award Towards the Advancement of Diversity and Inclusion at Duke.
Serving as SNMA’s largest fundraiser of the year, the banquet was a success due to the significant sponsorships of various Duke Health departments and the support of the Duke community. Organizational goals for SNMA this year include maintaining and strengthening community service and advocacy initiatives and increasing exposure within the Duke University Health System.
Additional information can be found at https://sites.duke.edu/mlkjrbanquet/about/