TCOM graduating class provides gift to Africa project


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Dr. Alaniz

By Alex Branch

When graduation day arrived for the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine Class of 2017, students still had $2,200 left in an off-campus bank account.

They could have spent that money they raised for class social events on a party or graduation gifts for themselves.

Instead, they chose something more meaningful.

The Class of 2017 donated their remaining funds to support UNT Health Science Center alumna Anne Alaniz, DO, and the Pothawira Foundation, which Dr. Alaniz co-founded to support women’s and children’s health care in her home country of Malawi. Dr. Alaniz, who addressed students at the May 20 commencement, was awarded the inaugural President’s Alumni Award for Distinguished Service.

Dr. Alaniz said she was grateful for the gift, which she told students came at a critical time. In her native African country, CT scan and x-ray machines are too difficult to maintain and process, so medical providers rely on a portable ultrasound to identity appendicitis, ruptured ectopic pregnancies, thyroid masses and more. However, the ultrasound recently broke.

The Class of 2017 gift will help cover the cost of a new ultrasound machine.

“In a developing country, ultrasound is invaluable,” Dr. Alaniz wrote the class. “Thank you a million times! Tell your class how grateful we are and what a huge difference this will make in Malawi.”

Jamie Kowal, DO, a member of the 2017 Class, said students were inspired by Dr. Alaniz and were eager to support her effort to improve lives in her native country.  To “serve others first” is one of UNTHSC’s core values.

“I believe this donation with a lasting impact speaks to the character of our class,” Dr. Kowal said.

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