Three TCOM students win Ricco Ethics Scholarship

By Steven Bartolotta

Lp Web
First-place scholarship winner, Jillian Floyd, is a TCOM first-year student at HSC.

A trio of students from the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine were awarded scholarships in the seventh annual Nicholas and Anna Ricco Ethics Essay competition. The three students all drew from personal experience to craft their essays on ethics in the profession.

TCOM first-year student Jillian Floyd captured first-place in the competition and a $1,000 scholarship for her essay that focused on “ethical nuances and their impact on viewpoints.”

“It is an honor to attend an institution that places such a strong emphasis on ethics and their implications, given that they will continue to be such an important aspect of medicine throughout our careers,” Floyd said.

The competition asked the students to write essays based on an experience they observed or read about that raised ethical questions or concerns. The students were asked to describe how they would handle the situation as a health care professional.

Floyd’s essay touched on the ethical nuances that can influence people’s decisions, and that in order to better understand each other and the patients, it is helpful for providers to understand a situation from many different viewpoints.

Fellow first-year students Ishna Sharma and Cassidy Weeks both received Meritorious Essay honors, and each will receive $500 of scholarship money.

Sharma focused on the ethical concerns of clinical trials in cancer patients, using her late father as an example. Ethics is something that still motivates her.

“Medical ethics is actually the primary reason that motivated me to switch careers and become a physician,” Sharma said. “I am honored to be awarded a scholarship that emphasizes such an important and personal aspect of medicine.”

Weeks wrote about ethics and autism and, like Sharma, was inspired by a family member. Her brother is autistic, and Weeks’ essay talked about the fine line between autonomy and shared medical decision-making in the wide autistic spectrum.

“I am very appreciative to everyone who donated to make this scholarship possible. I am passionate about medicine and professional ethics, and this scholarship helps me on my way to pursuing a career with both,” Weeks said.

Started in 2014, the Nicholas and Anna Ricco Ethics Essay Competition awards annual scholarships to three different HSC schools, TCOM, the School of Health Professions and the UNT System College of Pharmacy. Nicholas and Anna recently passed away, but their legacy lives on.

“Throughout my parents’ lives, they were presented with many ethical dilemmas related to business and personal relationships,” Nick Ricco Jr. said. “These situations demanded analysis and rumination to resolve such discordance, and required that they consider conflicting moral choices, formulate solutions and fervently act upon those conclusions. What are the facts? What is the right thing to do? Are my actions true to my values?nThese beliefs compelled them to promote ethical thought and actions at an academic level, and encourage students to think beyond curriculum. It was and shall remain their hope that these scholarships will inspire collegians to live and work ethically.”

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