TCOM rural scholar named Student Doctor of the Year

By Alex BranchAntonio Flores

Antonio Flores grew up in the small Texas farming community of Telferner, population 700, where resources are scarce and folks depend on one another for help.

If someone in his family got seriously ill, they drove to the closest city, Victoria, just to get basic medical services.

Flores’ desire to improve the quality of health care in a community like his hometown led him to pursue a medical degree through the rural scholar program at UNT Health Science Center’s Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine. And this same resolve is a reason why Flores, a 4th-year medical student, was named Student Doctor of the Year by the Texas Osteopathic Medical Association.

“I’m surprised and grateful,” Flores said. “I appreciate that osteopathic medicine is giving me the opportunity to pursue my dream of practicing medicine in underserved areas.”

The association noted Flores’ activity in student and professional chapters of the Texas Osteopathic Medical Association and the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians. He also participates in lobbying events and serves on committees for TOMA and ACOFP at the state and national level.

“Antonio Flores’ dedication to the osteopathic profession, interest in politics, and passion for preserving the future of osteopathic physicians in Texas are qualities that set him apart as a deserving recipient for the Student Doctor of the Year Award,” said Kenneth Bayles, DO, who chaired the awards committee. “We’re confident he will be a credit to our profession.”

Flores said TCOM’s emphasis on rural medicine is one of the reasons he chose to attend the Health Science Center. The program has already taken him on rotations to Plainview, Gatesville, Granbury and Eastland.

After graduation, he plans to complete a residency program in family medicine and then pursue a full-spectrum family practice in Texas.

“I entered medical school with the intention of returning to my roots and practicing medicine in a small town like the one I grew up in,” Flores said. “TCOM is definitely preparing me for that.”

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