Teekz Yenpasook received the honor, from the Council of Osteopathic Student Government Presidents, for his ongoing work promoting social justice and health equity for underrepresented populations, Andrea Garcia, associate vice president for university advancement, advised in a press release.
Each year, the council selects one student, chosen from a pool of thousands nominated by their schools, as the top student doctor “based on their service to their community, leadership and dedication to the osteopathic profession,” she added in the prepared statement.
Dr. Tami Hendriksz, associate dean of academic affairs at the Mare Island-based school and who served on the committee that nominated Yenpasook for the award, said, “In a crowd of impressive medical students, (Yenpasook) stands out due to his diligence, compassion, focus and ability to elicit positive change … I am honored that he is one of our students and will soon be an osteopathic physician. Our entire profession benefits from having Teekz as a member.”
Yenpasook has made it his goal “to increase the diversity of the TUC student body and help promote inclusion throughout all aspects of healthcare,” Garcia added in the release.
During his preclinical years, he served as the vice president of admissions in his school’s student government, focusing his term on increasing the representation of minority communities. At TUC, Yenpasook recognized a gap in the medical school curriculum and worked to bridge it by developing a course about LGBTQIA+ Considerations in Healthcare. He also directs the Biotech Academy Summer Internship, a program started by TUC students to educate and mentor underrepresented minority high school students within the community about osteopathic medicine, health sciences and higher education.
“Teekz Yenpasook exemplifies the values of Touro University,” said Sarah Sweitzer, Touro provost. “He has demonstrated time and time again his commitment to equality, the practice of osteopathy, and to his fellow man. I can’t think of a more worthy recipient of this honor and I look forward to watching Teekz continue to do great things. I know that, as a physician, he will be a fierce advocate for his patients and the communities he will work in.”
When relating to students and those he mentors, Yenpasook often draws on his experiences, Garcia pointed out. As a cancer survivor who grew up in Oakland and attended community college prior to transferring to the university, Yenpasook uses his personal history and stories to motivate and encourage others. A frequent keynote speaker, his personal presentations have helped to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and inspired hundreds of high school, community college and premedical school students to follow in his footsteps.
“Through mentorship, I discovered that I had an ability to pull out the light and strength in others who were struggling to believe in or nurture their own light,” Yenpasook said, adding, “Through friendship, I found interest in revamping medical curricula and how we view and interact with patients from a psycho-social-cultural lens.”
“Through advocacy,” he continued, “I gained courage to support and fight for social justice causes, uplift marginalized communities, and inspire higher education and health sciences to local Bay Area students. But I did not accomplish any of these amazing feats alone and I am so grateful for my community and positive inspirations that have helped me during my time at Touro.”
For more information, visit www.tu.edu or call 638-5200.