Humble Alum Converts Service into Accolades

Student DO of 2024 Survives Challenges Early in Medical School to Stay the Course, Thrive

June 21, 2024
A photo shows Student Doctor Ming Lai (Lily) Kwong (MSMHS Class of 2021), who is the Touro University California College of Osteopathic Medicine\'s Student DO of the Year.
Student Doctor Ming Lai (Lily) Kwong (MSMHS Class of 2021) is the Touro University California College of Osteopathic Medicine's Student DO of the Year.

A graduate of the Master of Science in Medical Health Sciences program with an impressive record of service has risen to the top of her medical school class with her selection this spring as Touro University California’s Student DO of the Year.

Student Doctor Ming Lai (Lily) Kwong (MSMHS Class of 2021) is an emerging fourth-year medical student who is on track to complete her Doctor of Osteopathy degree in 2025.

Kwong’s selection was announced in mid-April by Dr. Tami Hendriksz, Interim Chief Academic Officer for the University, and Dean and CAO of the College of Osteopathic Medicine.

“Throughout her time in medical school, Lily has demonstrated diligence, compassion, and dedication,” Hendriksz says in her announcement to the campus community. “Her leadership roles in various clubs and activities are testaments to her commitment to service, and she radiates inspiration through her kindness and transformative impact.”

Strong History of Service to Others

Kwong’s background from her time as an undergraduate to the time of her application is to be admired.

She has served as a junior instructor at the Global Ultrasound Institute, and as an ultrasound teaching assistant/trainer for the Ultrasound Club on campus; was a presenter at the summertime Biotech Academy that allows local high school students to hear from Touro University California medical students; served in a medical student externship focused on reproductive health; and organized or helped coordinate numerous events while on campus.

Kwong was a 2023 Napa-Solano Medical Society scholarship recipient, holds a Dean’s research grant through 2025, received the 2023 Service Award from Sigma Sigma Phi, and earned the 2022-2023 Silver-Level Volunteer Touch Award from the Council of Osteopathic Student Government Presidents.

Along the way, she has logged more than 260 hours of community service, and counting, with the bulk as Touch hours at various health fairs, food and donation drives, through youth education and mentorship, via patient care and direct health services, and in conjunction with related community services.

Clinic Experience in Neighbor State Tests Integrity

The essay Kwong included in her application addresses her time as a rising second-year medical student serving for a summer at a women’s health clinic in Arizona. She describes how the charged political climate around the issue of abortion present in California’s neighboring state challenged her integrity as a future osteopath – and how she overcame the challenge.

She served there as the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade.

“To me, integrity entails firmly standing by my beliefs while maintaining an open mind and embracing genuine conversations with those who hold opposing views,” Kwong writes at the conclusion of her essay.

“As a prospective osteopathic physician, I anticipate interacting with individuals from different walks of life. I aspire to nurture an environment that bridges misunderstandings rather than erecting barriers,” she writes. “With this guiding principle and commitment to upholding my integrity, I am dedicated to cultivating a health care system that is not only compassionate but also inclusive for all.”

Kwong was gracious as she learned of her selection as Student DO of the Year – and remains focused on her studies in preparation for her fourth year.

“I humbly dedicate this award to my supportive family, friends, colleagues, and the incredible patients who placed their trust in me,” she says. “You are the reason and inspiration for why I continue to strive for success. I sincerely thank you from the bottom of my heart.”