The Medical Association of the State of Alabama (MASA) awarded $4,000 scholarships to minority medical students Desalyn Johnson and Elijah Morris to help pay the cost of medical school.
The Underwood Minority Scholarship Award is named in honor of Dr. Jefferson Underwood, III, a Montgomery physician who was the first African American man to serve as the Association’s president. African American students who are already attending medical and osteopathic school or who have been accepted to school are eligible to apply for the scholarship.
Johnson graduated summa cum laude from UAH with a Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences and a minor in Spanish Language. She received an NIH-funded National Research Service Award to investigate the effect of insurance status on infant mortality and morbidity rates in the United States. In addition, Johnson has served as a Medical Student Peer Tutor, Diversity Ambassador and Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Mentor.
Morris graduated from Stonehill College in Massachusetts with a Bachelor’s degree in biology and now attends Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine at Auburn University. In 2023, he was awarded the John Peter Smith Diversity in Medicine Visiting Student Scholarship and was also recognized as a Hispanic Scholarship Fund Scholar. A New York native, Morris is a member of the Gold Humanism Honor Society and the Auburn chapter of Sigma Sigma Phi.
“Alabama doctors are honored to present these scholarships to Desalyn and Elijah,” said Dr. George Koulianos, a Mobile physician who serves as President of the Medical Association. “These students have demonstrated remarkable dedication and promise in their pursuit of a career in medicine.”