SMHS was established by Cortez Brown C'16 and Fridien Nana Tchoukoua C'17, with founding members Ashley Malpica C'17 and Reeda Shakir C'17 in the spring of 2015. Working closely with SHPS (Sewanee's Health Profession Society) the Officers of SMHS aim to reduce health disparities through workplace diversity. As an organization, the mission of the Sewanee Multicultural Health Society (SMHS) is to bring together a group of students who are passionate about uplifting multiculturalism and serving in Rural Appalachia. In addition, the purpose of The Sewanee Multicultural Health Society is as follows:
To provide opportunities for leadership, citizenship, and education through a variety of services including: community service/engagement, public health updates, societal health and disparity issues, and alumni mentoring.
To provide forums for students and community members who are interested in better understanding various issues in the United States and also globally regarding health and health disparities.
To provide an outlet to explore future schooling and career opportunities in any health or medical aspects/areas.
Co-PresidentsMatthew Hembree, C'20 and Mesgana Dagnachew, C'20; Treasurer Sue-Yun Kim, C'19; and Secretary Paisley Simmons, C'21
Mesgana Dagnachew is a junior biochemistry major and politics minor on the pre-medical track at the University of the South. At Sewanee, she serves as an educator for the diabetes education fellowship program, conducts an independent research study on air quality and neurodegenerative diseases and writes grants for different nonprofit organizations within the community as a Canale. In addition, Mesgana enjoys singing in the Sewanee Praise gospel choir. After earning her bachelor’s degree, she plans to attend medical school and specialize in pediatrics.
Matthew Hembree is a junior biochemistry major and Spanish minor following the pre-medical track at Sewanee. Through SMHS he served as an educator and executive assistant before becoming Co-President. Matthew spends a majority of his time at different campus events capturing photos for the school newspaper and a variety of other organizations. He is also involved with the school’s club rugby team and enjoys playing guitar in his spare time. In his time away from school, he shadows different physicians and travels when he can. Matthew has an interest in anesthesiology and plans to attend medical school after Sewanee.
Sue-Yun Kim is a senior biology major on the integrative track. She served as an executive assistant for SMHS the prior two years. She has experience shadowing doctors at UTK Hospital and Children's Hospital, along with working with children through various camps each summer. She is very involved in other campus organizations and extracurricular activities such as the Sewanee women's basketball team, SHPS, SWEEC, Student Disciplinary Board, Bacchus, Arcadian's Tour Guide, SADC, SAAC, Orientation leader, and Co-Vice President of BOLT. After Sewanee, she hopes to pursue a career in hospital administration.
Paisley Simmons is a sophomore neuroscience major, potential psychology minor and on the pre-medical track. She has been a member of SMHS for two years, serving on the committee as an educator her freshman year and currently as a part of the executive board, serving as the secretary. Outside of SMHS, she is a member of the swim and dive team (a diver), SHPS, Cru, National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS), and Sewanee Neurds, and she was an orientation leader this fall. After graduating from Sewanee, Paisley plans to attend medical school and hopes to become a neurosurgeon.
Co-President: Katie Wayne, C'19 is a junior biology major on the Integrative track and a Spanish minor. She researches under Dr. Moore and studies the morphological changes and structure of the phalluses of Alligator mississipiensis. She actively participates in other campus organizations such as Perpetual Motion, CRU, Beyond Sewanee, Activist Coalition, Russian Club, and SHPS. After Sewanee, she hopes to obtain her nursing degree and become a nurse practitioner.
Co-President: Ryan Mahan, C’19 is a biochemistry major on the pre-med track. This past summer, Ryan interned at Yale University School of Medicine, where he worked in a genetics lab researching the genetic causes of Autism Spectrum Disorder. In addition to his involvement in SMHS and SHPS, Ryan does virology research with Dr. Clint Smith on campus, investigating chaperone activity in coronaviruses. Ryan also helps lead the Key of D, Sewanee’s male a capella group. In the future, Ryan hopes to attend medical school and pursue a career in surgery.
Secretary: Caroline Martin, C'20 is intending to major in physics and minor in art. Last year, she served as Executive Assistant for SMHS. In Little Rock, Caroline volunteered at the All For Kids Pediatric Clinic. On campus, she is involved with SHPS and spends her free time painting and hiking. In the future, Caroline plans to attend medical school to possibly purse a career in the field of psychiatry.
Executive Treasurer: Cole Johnson, C’20 is a biology major. He spent the summer participating in the Island Ecology Program at St. Catherines Island off the coast of Georgia. During his stay there, he studied under Professors Zigler, Smith, Potter, and Cecala. On campus, Cole is the treasurer for the Sewanee Multicultural Health Society, an Environmental Resident for Courts and Trezevant Halls, and an Orientation Leader for the Class of 2021. In the future, Cole plans to attend medical school and specialize in pediatrics.
Founder and Co-President: Fridien Nana Tchoukoua, C'17, a biochemistry major and theatre/dance minor. He spent the summer of 2015 studying the effects of protein misfolding in Caenorhabditis elegans (c.elegans) under the supervision of Professor Kikis. His research findings will be presented at the 21st Annual Midwest Stress Response and Molecular Chaperone Meeting that will be held at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. As a performing artist, Fridien loves to dance and his choreographies have been featured in several shows including DanceWise, Perpetual Motion, and Sankofa. Currently, Fridien is the co-captain of the Sewanee Step Team, Vice-president of Perpetual Motion, and a member of Omicron Delta Kappa (ΟΔΚ)- a national leadership honor society in the United States. In addition, he worked as a dance instructor for the Alabama Youth Ballet company for a year and he is currently working with the Sewanee Dance Conservatory. Fridien enjoys working in the community and has been involved in housing sewanee through the Outreach Office. His future endeavors include attending medical school after graduation. He is currently President of Perpetual Motion and an active Member of SMHS.
Founder and Co-President: Cortez Brown, C'16, a biology major. He spent two summers interning at the Yale Child Study Center. During the first summer, he researched executive function development of adolescence and during his last summer he collaborated with Pfizer Pharmaceuticals and Yale to assist with launching the International Children’s Advisory Network (iCAN). It is a nonprofit that provides a voice for children and families that are involved in pediatric clinical trials. At Sewanee, Cortez lettered both in Football and Track & Field. He has recently founded ProStudents, a nonprofit in his hometown of Vero Beach, Florida that serves as a mentoring and tutoring program for the future scholars of his community. After Sewanee, he aspires to attend medical school and become an orthopedic surgeon. He is currently attending Florida State University College of Medicine MS and MD program.
2016-17 Co-President: Melanie Vaughn, C'18 is a biology major. She spent the summer of 2016 interning at and urgent care clinic created by Dr. Elaine Crain, a Sewanee alumni and nurse practitioner. Here at Sewanee, Melanie is a posse scholar, Proctor of Ayers Hall, member of the Arcadian program, cheerleading team, health advisory board, and the sorority Theta Pi. In the future, Melanie plans on attending nursing school and becoming a pediatric nurse practitioner.
2016-17 Co-President: Kevin Nguyen, C'18 is an economics major on the premed track. He does undergraduate research with Dr. Pongdee which is focused on the addition of glycosydic bonds. Many biologically-active secondary metabolites possess carbohydrate residues as part of their structure. These sugar units have been found to play an instrumental role in the biological efficacy of the natural product. He is interested in developing new methods to access some of the more prevalent glycosidic linkages found among natural products in a highly stereocontrolled fashion. In the future, he plans to attend medical school and specializing. At Sewanee, Kevin is the Co-President of Sewanee Multicultural Health Society, Proctor of Ayres, and a member of Phi Gamma Delta.
Secretary: Ashley Malpica, C'17 is a biology and Russian major. She spent her last semester abroad at Queen Mary, University London a leading teaching and research institution part of Britain's Russell Group of Universities. Ashley continues her active research of 2 years in the Biology Department at Sewanee: University of the South under Dr. Brandon Moore on collecting and analyzing Mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis) as a bio-indicator for disruptive environmental factors present in two waterbodies on the domain. Ashley will attend The Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology national conference in Louisiana where she will present her research. In the future, Ashley wants to pursue her Ph.D. in Molecular Biology and conduct research. Here at Sewanee, Ashley is the secretary of Sewanee Multicultural Health Society, SWEEC (Sewanee Women Engaging & Empowering Community), Sewanee Wellness Action Group, the Russian Club, works for the Spanish Department as a Spanish Tutor, and a member of the Kappa Delta sorority.
Executive Treasurer: Katie Wayne, C’19 is intending to major in biology and minor in Spanish. This past summer, she was an AmeriCorps VISTA Summer Associate and served Sewanee and the surrounding communities through volunteer outreach services. She is currently a research student for Dr. Moore, a professor in the Biology Department. Here at Sewanee, Katie is active in both SMHS and SHPS, Beyond Sewanee, and Perpetual Motion, and she is a SHPS mentor for pre-health/pre-med students. In the future, she plans to become a pediatric endocrinologist or nurse practitioner.
Historian: Kayla Howard, C'18 is a biology major. She spent the summer of 2016 interning in Peru and Lima with Med Life. Through this program she was able to serve in impoverished rural communities and help children with medical disabilities. On campus, Kayla is involved with SHPS and SMHS. In addition, she also interns at Beersheba Springs Medical Clinic. In the future, Kayla hopes to be a pediatric infectious disease physician.
Program Coordinator: Reeda Shakir, C'17. She was the SHPS President for the 2016-2017 academic year.
Succeeding in the pre-health curriculum The pre-health curriculum consists of a diverse array of coursework, much in the STEM fields. These courses are often extremely rigorous in order to provide students with the background skills and knowledge they need to succeed in health care fields. The Office of Medical and Health Programs (OMHP), partnering with the Sewanee Health Professions Society (SHPS), provides both leadership development opportunities for students interested in tutoring and one-on-one peer tutoring for students seeking tutoring. All peer tutors have not only succeeded in the courses in which they tutor, but they have also been shown to be good teachers and mentors.