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ATSU-KCOM curriculum in surgery, research opportunities help student to shine on rotations

ATSU-KCOM student Zachary Taylor, OMS II, poses with his research poster.

A.T. Still University-Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine (ATSU-KCOM) student Zachary Taylor, OMS II, apparently likes to stay busy. 

Taylor’s list of activities and student organization involvement is, in a word, impressive. He is president of the Sigma Sigma Phi honors fraternity, Student Osteopathic Medical Association, and Neurosurgery Club, the latter also being his creation during his first year on the Kirksville, Missouri, campus. 

He is director of service with the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Club, and part of the American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry’s (AADMD) global health committee, which is dedicated to supporting Ukraine and IDD health disparities. Taylor is also an author of Helen Magazine, in which he writes about health disparities in the IDD community, and has more than 100 “touch” hours while serving as coach of Kirksville Special Olympics in basketball, bowling, softball, javelin toss, sprinting, and more.

He is the moderator of a nine-episode webinar covering epilepsy in the disabled community, and does neurosurgery on alligators with Bruce Young, PhD, professor, to measure cerebral spinal fluid pressure. Taylor is part of a student neurosurgery curriculum, known as NERVE, which is hosted by Cornell University, in which he helps other students interested in neurosurgery write publications and is able to promote his own work. In fact, Taylor is guaranteed a publication in the 2023 Brain and Spine Report, a prestigious research platform. 

Taylor will present at the National Neurosurgery Research convention. This is in addition to two other completed national presentations on IDD community-related topics, three other poster presentations at various universities in the future, and an AADMD Global Health presentation in April. 

Taylor is a mental health ambassador and helped recreate a mentorship program for undergraduate students attempting to apply to medical school, and has represented ATSU-KCOM at three national conferences, including the American Osteopathic Association House of Delegates. 

Previously, Taylor served as ATSU-KCOM Student Government Association vice president, and was an active advocate for the school budget, school social, and auction committees. During his term, Taylor was a lead coordinator for the school prom and annual auction, raising more than $8,000 for the student body. 

And if that wasn’t enough, Taylor carves out time to serve as a student ambassador and act as the organization’s social coordinator. 

“I chose to become a student ambassador because I enjoy being a spokesperson for a school I am proud to attend,” Taylor said. “I get the chance to see excitement in the potential students when I explain how amazing our facilities and curriculum are.” 

Born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and raised in Springfield, Missouri, Taylor has a bachelor’s in cellular and molecular biology with a minor in chemistry from Missouri State University.

Taylor’s main areas of interest for his career are neurosurgery or trauma surgery. 

“ATSU has an amazing curriculum, particularly in surgery, that has prepared me to shine on rotations,” he said. “ATSU also has several rotation sites that have competitive specialties we can learn more about.”


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