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Seeking to serve the underserved, Rivera chose ATSU’s School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona

A.T. Still University-School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona (ATSU-SOMA) student Joseph Alexander Rivera, OMS III, sought a medical school that aligned with his personal goals of serving underserved communities. No school came closer than ATSU-SOMA.

“I chose ATSU-SOMA because my personal goals as a future physician align well with this school’s philosophy in serving medically disadvantaged patients with a whole person-centered and compassionate approach,” he said. “It is my goal to provide compassionate community-oriented care to patients within my southern Arizona hometown.”

Rivera is from Tucson, Arizona, and has a bachelor’s of science degree in physiology from the University of Arizona. He also served as a military police officer in the Air Force.

He became a student ambassador at ATSU-SOMA in order to help students answer the kinds of questions he had during his journey to osteopathic medical school.

“I am the first and only person of my family, immediate and extended, to graduate from a four-year university and to pursue a career in medicine,” he said. “I had to adapt quickly and learn to navigate the academic system in order to have my questions answered to succeed in my academic career. I became an ATSU-SOMA student ambassador because I wanted to help fellow students navigate our school program throughout their medical school journey with the hopes that they may have a little more peace of mind and feel a little less burdened with questions unanswered.”

Outside of class, Rivera enjoys music, yoga, practicing osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT), and spending time with his dog (“pupper doggo”).

In class, Rivera is honing his skills as he works toward his ultimate goal.

“I enjoy being an ATSU-SOMA student because I got to be close to my hometown during the first year, and now I get to reside in my hometown as an OMS II-IV. I also get to be a DO student with the ability to perform OMT. As an osteopathic student, I was given knowledge and skills that benefit my friends, family, and patients towards improved health using quick adjustments and focused OMT treatments,” he said.

“Since before medical school and to this day, my professional goal has been to work for El Rio Community Health Center, serving our southern Arizona medically underserved population. I was privileged enough to become one of ATSU’s Hometown Scholars for the Tucson CHC, where my mentors at the CHC ingrained in me the importance of providing compassionate care and respect to all patients.”


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