Class of 2021 medical student Jessica Jordan began her service to VCOM-Carolinas early in her first year, taking on several leadership positions including class liaison and tutor for anatomy. Her service to her class and her involvement with her peers was duly rewarded with her election as Vice President for the Class of 2021. Within this role, Jessica continued to develop and demonstrate her leadership qualities to mediate and effectively communicate matters regarding administration, scheduling and philanthropy between her class and faculty and staff. In her spare time, Jessica volunteered countless hours serving the local community for which she was awarded the Gold TOUCH Award for her osteopathic outreach.
While establishing herself as a prominent student leader, she sought to further advance the application of osteopathic medicine through the foundation of a novel organization focused on diversity. She proposed, founded and led Promoting Recognition of Identity, Diversity and Equality (PRIDE) in Healthcare. This new student organization is dedicated to educating future physicians and healthcare providers about the unique needs of and disparities faced by the LGBTQ+ community. As part of her outreach initiative with PRIDE in Healthcare, Jessica assembled the Bias Seminar on campus - a series of four installments where several guest speakers came to inform students, faculty, and staff on many topics such as gender disparities and biases and prejudice in healthcare. The series equipped attendees with knowledge on how to be an ally and an advocate for all patients. The Bias in Healthcare series will be highlighted at AACOM’s national conference in Washington, DC in the Spring of 2020.
Jessica’s leadership extends beyond the bounds of the VCOM-Carolinas campus. She is an active member in policy engagement and advocacy on a national scale. Her ambitions took her to the U.S. where she proposed two resolutions to the Student Osteopathic Medical Association. The first resolution sought to allow osteopathic medical schools the opportunity to form committees focused on LGBTQ+ health and health disparities; the second resolution advocated for increased medical provider education regarding the healthcare disparities the LGBTQ+ community may face. Because of Jessica’s passion and pursuit, one of her resolutions was passed and will be nationally implemented in 2020-2021. Partnering with a grassroots non-profit, Pride Link, she helped coordinate, establish and recruit physicians and students for mobile health for the LGBTQ+ community in clinics in the Upstate region of South Carolina where access to care is a real issue. She remains involved in this organization, serving on their Advisory Committee. She was also recently selected to serve on the national leadership team of the Medical Student Pride Alliance and is excited about her future work with them.
The mission of VCOM is to “prepare globally-minded, community-focused physicians to meet the needs of rural and medically underserved populations and promote research to improve human health.” Jessica‘s devotion to the practice of osteopathic medicine fulfills this mission par excellence. To sum up the words of Dean Matthew Cannon, DO and Lindsey Ridgeway, PhD, Jessica bloomed where she was planted. Her kind servant’s heart is matched by her exemplary leadership and passion. She possesses an impeccable drive to enhance osteopathic medicine − her efforts are present and persist on our campus and will continue to advance the profession going forward.