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ATSU-SOMA student says school presents ideal path to work in underserved, rural communities

Dakota Shank, OMS I

A.T. Still University-School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona (ATSU-SOMA) student Dakota Shank, OMS I, believes in serving underserved communities, and wants to one day be an emergency department physician in a rural area. 

That approach to medicine makes ATSU-SOMA a natural fit.

“I chose ATSU-SOMA because of the shining example it sets in supporting underserved communities,” Shank said. “I believe it would be a waste to not put my developing skills as a future physician to good use in the community, and I’m excited to do so even more my second year when I go to my cohort.

“I hope to become the attending physician of a rural emergency department somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. ATSU-SOMA helps me prepare for this everyday. With several emergency physicians on staff, they do a great job of weaving emergency situations into our practice cases and simulations. I’m excited for my later years when I’ll be able to go on rotation into the emergency department.”

Shank, originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan, has joined the ATSU-SOMA Emergency Medicine (EM) Club, Wilderness Medicine Club, Medical Student Pride Alliance (MSPA), and Anatomy Club since becoming a student. 

“I joined the SOMA EM Club, as I worked as a medical scribe in the emergency department for six years, up until I got accepted into medical school. It’s the specialty I most see myself being in, and I love talking to my fellow classmates and future colleagues about their experiences with it, as well. There have been lots of volunteer opportunities as well as an upcoming seminar where we’ll practice some basic sutures,” Shank said. 

“I am a proud ally of my LGBTQIA+ classmates! The MSPA has given numerous talks on subjects that are often poorly understood by individuals outside of the community, including gender identity, providing healthcare for such individuals, etc. It’s a club that has fun and prepares you to care for individuals of that community.”

Shank is also a student ambassador and enjoys opportunities to speak with prospective and accepted students.

“I also just really enjoy helping out our great admissions faculty,” Shank said.

Shank enjoys weightlifting, board games, video games, and traveling.

“Anything that gives me an excuse to spend time with friends outside the library,” Shank said.

Speaking of those friends, Shank said, “I really enjoy spending time with my classmates. It feels like I’ve met some of the smartest, kindest, most genuine people I’ll ever meet. Whether it’s just chatting for a few minutes in the hallway or grabbing lunch, they make the struggle of constantly studying more bearable.”


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