Caroline Clark, Class of 2022, has been named ACOM’s 2021-2022 Student Doctor of the Year (SDOY). Each year, the ACOM Student Government Association requests nominations of students who demonstrate the principles of leadership, community service, dedication and professionalism. Osteopathic colleges across the country select one student from their institutions to compete for the national SDOY award.
Clark considers herself a Southeastern transplant, having moved to Alabama from New York nearly 10 years ago. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in biomedical sciences with a minor in philosophy from Auburn University. Clark first learned about osteopathic medicine during ACOM’s fall open house and was immediately drawn to the idea of treating patients past their routine medical needs.
“The osteopathic approach to whole-body wellness with an emphasis on patient-centered care really stood out to me, and I knew this was the medical education I wanted,” Clark said. “ACOM’s faculty, staff, and overall environment felt welcoming from the moment I arrived. I soon understood the relationships I was building at ACOM among my peers, the faculty, and administration would challenge and encourage me to become the best physician I could be.”
Clark served as SGA President for the Class of 2022 before moving to Decatur, Ala., to complete her clinical training. She says her most rewarding experience has been being part of the care team for several 23- and 24-week-old newborns in the Neonatal ICU.
“Here I found my calling in medicine during the encounters with both patients and their families. Although the NICU can be a heartbreaking place at times, there was nothing more gratifying and inspiring than sending a child home with their family,” she explained.
Clark plans to pursue a pediatrics residency and ultimately, either a fellowship in neonatology or other pediatrics subspecialty. She hopes to return to the east coast when she completes training to be closer to family and friends.
As Student Doctor of the Year, Clark will represent ACOM for the national Council of Osteopathic Student Government President’s SDOY competition this spring.
“I am overcome with gratitude for both my peers who nominated me and the selection committee who awarded me this honor, for it is truly humbling to receive such a title,” Clark said. “ACOM has provided me with academic and leadership opportunities that have molded my professional identity, and for this I will always be deeply thankful. Moving forward, I hope to represent all ACOM stands for with integrity and enthusiasm.”