OMS II Oyinlola Oshinowo is Inaugural Recipient of Tracy Tam Memorial Alumni Award for Compassion

Award Honors Legacy of Esteemed Doctor

June 29, 2018
Oyinlola (Lola) Oshinowo was the recipient of the inaugural Tracy Tam Memorial Alumni Award for Compassion.
Oyinlola (Lola) Oshinowo was the recipient of the inaugural Tracy Tam Memorial Alumni Award for Compassion.

The award is given in honor of Dr. Tam, of TouroCOM Harlem’s class of 2013, who died in a tragic shooting at the Bronx Lebanon Hospital in 2017. Dr. Tam embodied the mission of TouroCOM through her work as a compassionate physician with a special commitment to the underserved. The award upholds her legacy by recognizing a second-year student who displays the characteristics and traits that Dr. Tam demonstrated.

“Lola’s wholehearted dedication to serving marginalized communities through medicine and community engagement is a perfect example of the TouroCOM mission that Dr. Tam exemplified,” said Beth Portnoy, TouroCOM Coordinator for Alumni Affairs. “We are thrilled to honor her as the first recipient of the Tracy Tam Memorial Alumni Award for Compassion.”

Oshinowo received the award during the TouroCOM Harlem White Coat Ceremony on May 10.

Oshinowo, the daughter of Nigerian parents, attended the University of Oregon and finished her degree at UC Riverside. She studied anthropology and originally considered a career in law until she read a book by medical anthropologist Dr. Paul Farmer, the founder of Partners in Health.

“I was always interested in medicine, but I doubted my abilities,” said Oshinowo. “Once I read that book, I realized that was how I wanted to use my voice. This was my idea of activism: to become a doctor and help people.”

Oshinowo did her post-bac at La Salle University and applied to TouroCOM on the advice of a mentor.

“TouroCOM’s mission of serving the underserved resonated with me as well as the idea of increasing the amount of underrepresented minorities in medicine,” she said.

Nominations for the award were solicited from members of the second-year class and the recipient was chosen by the dean, Dr. David Forstein, after review of nominees by members of the Alumni Association Steering Committee. This year, the recommendation of an awardee was made to the dean by Dr. Shailee Udani, DO, TouroCOM Class of 2013. Dr. Udani was a close friend of Dr. Tam.

“I chose Lola because, just like Dr. Tam, there was a genuine sense of warmth and compassion toward the patients and colleagues with whom she has worked,” said Dr. Udani, a family medicine physician beginning a fellowship with the Institute for Family Health. “I was also impressed that she was originally interested in becoming a civil rights lawyer but chose to act as an advocate through her patients, because Tracy also believe that working for the betterment of her patients was her form of advocacy.”

Oshinowo said she felt a kinship to Dr. Tam.

“I read about Dr. Tam’s career and how she worked in an underserved area,” said Oshinowo. “I realized that we both had the same goals in becoming a physician.” She remarked that the fact that Tam was subbing for a friend in the hospital on the day the shooting occurred hit her particularly hard.

Oshinowo will be spending her third year at Consortium in New Jersey. She plans on specializing in women’s health and hopes to devote part of her career to working overseas.