Medical student recognized for leadership in diversity outreach

February 18, 2013 11:00 AM

Keith Brannon

While most students celebrated the last days of Carnival, fourth-year Tulane medical student Christopher Terndrup flew to Washington, D.C., to pick up a prestigious national leadership award for his work to diversify community health outreach in New Orleans.

Christopher Terndrup

The American Medical Association honored Tulane medical student Christopher Terndrup as one of 20 who are leaders in advocacy, community service and education. (Photo by Guillermo Cabrera-Rojo)

Terndrup received the American Medical Association Foundation’s 2013 Leadership Award at the group’s annual Excellence in Medicine Awards ceremony on Feb. 11. The award recognizes 20 medical students, residents or early career physicians from around the country for demonstrating outstanding leadership skills in advocacy, community service and education.  The event included a day of leadership training workshops.  

“The conference was great,” Terndrup says. “I left with a renewed passion to not only continue community service and advocacy but to take it to a larger level.”

Terndrup was singled out for his work to raise awareness about gay, lesbian and transgender health issues and his efforts to expand access to language interpretation services for patients at student-run community clinics.

Terndrup, a past president of TOGA, the Tulane Organization of Gays and Allies, organized the School of Medicine’s first annual LGBT Health Week. He also was interpretive services liaison for the Fleur de Vie Clinic, one of the student-run clinics, which provides language and cultural interpretation services for patients with limited English proficiency, particularly New Orleans’ Hispanic and Vietnamese patients.

“Seeing a need for these services in other sites, I expanded these services to other student-run clinics by creating the Interpretive Services Project,” he says.

Terndrup, who is completing his clinical rotations in Baton Rouge, La., through the LEAD (Leadership, Education, Advocacy and Discovery) Program,  plans to pursue a residency in internal medicine. While his long-term goal is to work for a community health center or hospital-based clinic, he says he never plans to give up working as an advocate and servant to the community.

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