Samuel Merritt University (SMU) student Natalie Thanh Hua was chosen as “Outstanding Podiatric Medical Student of 2012” by the American Podiatric Medical Students Association (APMSA).
Hua, who will graduate from the California School of Podiatric Medicine (CSPM) this year, won the award out of a field of nine nominees representing each of the nine podiatric medical schools across the country. She also received a $1,000 scholarship, sponsored by the APMSA.
“It is a great honor to have represented CSPM and to be recognized with this award,” Hua said. “The award solidifies my belief that our professionalism as aspiring podiatrists is judged both by how much knowledge and skill we gain at school and how much good we are willing to do with it.”
Hua is the founder of the Podiatry Clinic at Clinica Tepati at the University of California, Davis. The student-run clinic provides podiatric care for the underserved and uninsured population of Sacramento. She single-handedly oversees the fundraising, volunteers, and supplies at the podiatry clinic.
“I wanted to provide the much-needed care to the underserved community and to provide an opportunity for CSPM students to apply their medical knowledge they have gained while doing community service,” said Hua.
Hua immigrated to the United States with her family from Vietnam in 2002 while only a junior in high school, and said she has always been grateful for the medical care she received as a new immigrant.
In addition to Clinica Tepati, Hua is heavily involved at CSPM, serving as the student body treasurer and workshop coordinator for the American Association for Women Podiatrists. She also submitted a poster about her work at Clinica Tepati at the American Public Health Association Annual Conference.
David Applegate, current President of the APMSA, praised Hua for her accomplishments.
“Podiatric medical school is extremely demanding,” he said. “The fact that Ms. Hua was able to make such an amazing difference in the community while enduring the rigors of a medical education is truly commendable.”
Pictured: Natalie Thanh Hua