Tanya Hioe, D.O.’17, has served in student clubs since grade school, typically in roles that allowed her to make contributions behind the scenes. That changed when she served as first-year liaison to DMU’s Student Osteopathic Medical Association (SOMA) chapter, which sparked her thinking about making an already strong club even stronger.
“I had a huge vision for what I wanted DMU SOMA to be — the leading professional student organization on campus, held accountable of its promise to offer a large variety of well-organized events and opportunities for its members,” she says.
That inspired Hioe to run for SOMA president, a role in which she was named SOMA Officer of the Year and helped the organization earn the SOMA “Golden Femur” Chapter of the Year title. For her leadership, achievement and dedication, she also was named the 2015 recipient of the American Osteopathic Foundation (AOF) Karen J. Nichols, DO LEAD Scholar Award. The $1,000 award recognizes osteopathic medical students who show promise and exhibit foundational leadership skills. It was established to honor Karen J. Nichols, D.O., former president of the American Osteopathic Association, its first female president, an accomplished educator and past AOF board member.
“My leadership experiences have confirmed my long-held desire to become a physician,” Tanya Hioe says.
“Leading SOMA is probably one of the most challenging and nerve-wracking things I’ve done, especially while balancing school work, dealing with the fact that I’d have to speak one-on-one with important-looking people who intimidated me, and also talking in front of a huge crowd, though it has been the most rewarding experience,” she says. That included her and fellow SOMA members’ lobbying efforts during D.O. Day on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, and Physician Day and DMU Day on the Hill at the Iowa State Capitol. SOMA members also worked with other campus organizations on the St. Baldrick’s Day event, which raised almost $19,000 for pediatric cancer research.
She credits the 11 DMU students who served on the DMU SOMA board for enabling the organization to increase its community outreach and service, awareness campaigns and collaboration with other student clubs. While she’s confident in the leadership of her SOMA president successor, Reeya Patel, D.O.’18, Hioe is also excited that her third-year rotations with UnityPoint in Des Moines will allow her to help the new SOMA board as needed.
“My experiences in medical school and in DMU SOMA are marked by passion, integrity and extensive collaboration — qualities I am excited to carry on in my career as a doctor and as an advocate for osteopathic medicine,” she says.