New physician helps medical school hopefuls surmount challenges

Jose Cruz, DO, MPH, is a newly minted physician who helps young people become doctors in spite of major challenges.

Partly because of this work, he’s among 74 students to receive the Excellence in Public Health Award from the United States Public Health Corps.

Jose Cruz Mentor UNTHSC 2Dr. Cruz is a 2014 graduate of the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine’s Rural Medicine program with a dual master’s degree in public health. He’s serving his residency in internal medicine and pediatrics at the University of Oklahoma at Tulsa School of Community Medicine.

He volunteers with Tour for Diversity in Medicine, a grassroots effort to cultivate future minority physicians. He’s traveled to 10 states, advising disadvantaged high school and college students about how and where to apply to medical school, and how to handle personal challenges while excelling in a demanding educational environment.

"One student I’m mentoring dealt with the suicide of one parent and major illness of the other, while he served as the primary income source for the family," Dr. Cruz said. "While in high school, he lived in his brother’s dorm room, and while in college he dealt with problems regarding his tuition.  He is a huge success story and is now a first-year medical student."

Jose Cruz Mentor UNTHSC 3Touring the Northeast, he met a student from Texas who was actively involved in college and research. "But like so many minorities, she had a sub-par MCAT score," Dr. Cruz said. He reviewed her essay and provided advice, and eventually she entered medical school.

"Many students ask about where to apply to medical school, and I encourage them to look into TCOM," he said.

 "TCOM gives students the opportunity to become involved in the community. Many faculty members are supportive of any initiatives that are meaningful not only to the student body, but also to the community as a whole."

Recent News

Scott Walters
  • Our People
|Dec 7, 2022

Through NIH HEAL Initiative, Dr. Scott Walters and colleagues accelerate fight against the nation’s opioid crisis

Four years ago, the National Institutes of Health introduced the unprecedented HEAL Initiative to address the nation’s public health crisis of opioid misuse, addiction and overdose. More than $2 billion has been invested in 1,000 research projects to date, spanning basic and clinical research ...
Wellest Team
  • On Campus
|Dec 6, 2022

Wellest Inc. founder Dave Sekowski partners with HSC faculty through Techstars program

For Dave Sekowski, founder and CEO of Wellest Inc., the road to wellness has not been easy. Growing up with limited access to healthy food and education about health and nutrition, he struggled with childhood obesity. “I had to take it upon myself to figure it out,” Sekowski said. “I joined...
IHI Banner
  • Patient Care
|Dec 6, 2022

TCOM leadership presents patient safety course to 2022 IHI forum

The Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine’s innovative patient safety course and how to incorporate it into an academic curriculum was on display at the 2022 Institute for Healthcare Improvement Forum in Orlando, Florida.  Frank Filipetto, DO, CPPS, FACOFP, dean of TCOM, and Lillee Gelinas DNP...
Stephanie Ibekwe
  • Our People
|Dec 5, 2022

A voice for women in medicine

When Dr. Stephanie Ibekwe’s mother, Sarah, came home from her nursing job, she would tell her daughter stories about her patients and the conversations she had with them. “Nursing is pretty stressful, but my mom had an amazing way of handling things,” she said. “My mom really loved to bui...