A member of Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine’s Class of 2020 has received the 2020 Excellence in Public Health Award from the U.S. Public Health Service Physician Professional Advisory Committee.
OUWB’s Sosnowski awarded 2020 Excellence in Public Health Award
Aniela Sosnowski
Aniela Sosnowski, Class of 2020, OUWB, (left), has received the 2020 Excellence in Public Health Award from the U.S. Public Health Service Physician Professional Advisory Committee.

A member of Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine’s Class of 2020 has received the 2020 Excellence in Public Health Award from the U.S. Public Health Service Physician Professional Advisory Committee.

Aniela Sosnowski is the recipient after being nominated for her service to the community throughout her four years at OUWB.

While at OUWB, she has volunteered at ADA Camp Midicha for children living with diabetes, Hope Adult Shelter, and Happy Period.

“We have been tremendously impressed with Aniela’s commitment to providing care for the neediest members of our community,” said Robert Noiva, Ph.D., associate dean of Graduate Studies & Community Integration and associate professor in the Department of Foundational Medical Studies, OUWB. Noiva nominated Sosnowski for the award.

“As a physician-in-training, she has generously given of her time and talent to serve others,” continued Noiva. “She has consistently sought out opportunities to address some of the often- overlooked disparities in services provided to the poor and homeless.”

The award is traditionally announced at the OUWB Honors Convocation, one of several events cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nonetheless, Sosnowski said she was surprised to learn she was this year’s recipient.

“I was kind of taken by surprise that people actually recognized I was doing all of these things because for me it was just a lot of personal excitement and personal fulfillment,” she said.

‘Not only learning how to be a doctor’

Sosnowski, a native of New York City, earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan. She has matched in obstetrics-gynecology at Zucker School of Medicine, Hofstra/Northwell in New York.

Her journey to become a doctor essentially began when she broke a finger playing basketball in high school. Sosnowski said that’s when she developed an especially keen interest in the human body as she was treated by physicians.

“I was like ‘This is something I want to pursue and something that I could do for the rest of my life,’” she said.

OUWB was especially appealing to Sosnowski because of emphasis on humanism in health care.

She said she loved telling people that at OUWB she was “not only learning how to be a doctor, but learning all these other social and humanistic traits that are going to help me be a strong doctor.”

Volunteerism was a big part of that education, she said.

“I’d reach out to professors or doctors and say ‘Hey, do you have any volunteer experiences for me?’” Sosnowski said. “Everybody was willing to share those opportunities with students.”

‘Highest level of compassionate care’

Early in her time at OUWB, Sosnowski became involved at American Diabetes Association's Camp Midicha, the Fenton, Michigan-based ADA camp that is the largest of its kind in the U.S., and has a longstanding partnership with OUWB.

She volunteered at the camp for three summers, during which she was primarily responsible for the diabetes management of a cabin of 10-15 children.

“She learned by fulfilling her duties at the camp, but valued most her opportunity to have intimate conversations with campers and their family members, learning about their experience living with diabetes,” according to the nomination form for the Public Health Award.

Sosnowski took the Camp Midicha experience further by conducting a research project to study and improve camp experiences for pediatric campers with diabetes. The information was presented during the American Diabetes Association's (ADA's) 79th Scientific Sessions held June 7-11, 2019, in San Francisco. Nearly 15,000 leading physicians, scientists, health care professionals and industry representatives from around the world attended the event.

Related:

Research by OUWB professors, students helps children with diabetes at summer camp

Happy, Healthy Campers

OUWB students step up in metro Detroit on National Make a Difference Day

While at OUWB, Sosnowski also volunteered at Hope Adult Shelter in Pontiac. Among other things, she examined patients and determined if they needed additional care in an emergency setting. The nomination for the Public Health Award indicates Sosnowski’s “level of commitment to shelter guests has been noted by shelter staff and OUWB faculty.”

Further, Sosnowski was an ambassador for Happy Period, a national organization that strives to provide women who are homeless with feminine hygiene products. The mission was important to her because she identified the need via her experiences with guests at Hope Adult Shelter. Among other things, she applied for grants, collected donations of feminine hygiene products that were then packaged and distributed to the community.

Sosnowski said her volunteer experiences in the public health sector will translate to her being a better doctor. She said it was important to note those who she said had an important role in her success: James Franklin, Ph.D., psychologist and director of Training at the OU Counseling Center; Jason Wasserman, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Foundational Medical Studies and Department of Pediatrics; Lowell Schmeltz, M.D., FACE, associate professor and chairman of Camp Midicha; and Mary Ann Ryan, one of the nurses at Hope Adult Shelter.

“For being a doctor, you have to be ready to have all different types of social interactions — you have to put yourself in a position where you’re going to meet people who you might not share any background with, whether it’s same race, same religion, or same socioeconomic status,” said Sosnowski. “You have to learn how to make that quick connection to make sure that they trust you — and that’s something I’ve definitely learned how to do during this time.”

Noiva also credited Sosnowski for demonstrating leadership skills and serving as a role model in encouraging others to join her in her efforts. 

“Most importantly, she provides the highest level of compassionate care to her patients, regardless of their economic or social circumstances,” he said.

For more information, contact Andrew Dietderich, marketing writer, OUWB, at adietderich@oakland.edu

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