University of Vermont

College of Medicine

Office of Medical Communications

Class of 2016’s Chavez Honored with AMA Foundation Minority Scholars Award

Katia Chavez , UVM College of Medicine Class of 2016
Katia Chavez, UVM College of Medicine Class of 2016 (Photo: UVM Medical Photography)

The American Medical Association (AMA) Foundation honored University of Vermont College of Medicine student Katia Chavez with a Minority Scholars Award at the AMA’s Annual Meeting in Chicago, Ill., on June 7, 2014. Chavez, a member of the College’s Class of 2016, was one of only ten medical students in the country selected to receive this award.

The AMA Minority Scholars Award recognizes academic achievement and commitment to the elimination of health care disparities. Scholars receive a $10,000 scholarship.

Nearly 30 percent of the U.S. population is African-American, Hispanic, American Indian, Native Hawaiian or Alaskan Native, yet only about nine percent of all U.S. physicians are from these racial and ethnic groups. Concurrently, racial and ethnic disparities in care continue to plague the U.S. health care system, according to a federal report.

Chavez, who is originally from Lima, Peru, received her bachelor’s degree in biology with honors distinction from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. After college, she earned a master’s degree in public health (MPH) with a focus on epidemiology at Florida International University. As an MPH student, she organized two epidemiological field studies that sought to improve health services for a native Quechua-speaking community in Cusco, Peru. While in medical school, Katia became one of the leaders of the Pediatric Student Interest Group and was awarded a 2013 Albert Schweitzer Fellowship, conducting a project focused on improving health services delivered to migrant Hispanic dairy farm workers.

The AMA Foundation’s Minority Scholars Awards are given in partnership with the AMA Minority Affairs Section, with support from Pfizer, Inc.

The AMA Foundation, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt foundation, is dedicated to improving public health by raising funds and providing philanthropic support to high-impact health and medical scholarship programs. Visit to join the AMA Foundation in improving the health of Americans.

(This article was adapted from a news release produced by Amy Jenkins of the AMA Foundation.)