Naomi Tweyo Nkinsi, a 2022 Pisacano Scholar, graduated from the University of Washington School of Medicine and is currently a 1st-year resident in Tacoma, Washington. She graduated from the University of Washington with double majors in cellular, molecular, and developmental biology, and in public health. Naomi earned her Master’s in Public Health with a concentration in global health at the University of Washington School of Public Health.
Naomi was born in Yaoundé, Cameroon, to parents from the Democratic Republic of Congo. In Cameroon, a country where access to physicians can be limited, a mosquito bite quickly went from an annoyance to a life-threatening illness when Naomi’s mom contracted malaria during her pregnancy. The care her and her mother received continues to be a source of inspiration for Naomi, who moved to the United States with her family when she was in elementary school. Her experiences in healthcare as an immigrant and a Black woman inspired her decision to go to medical school with the goal of becoming a physician-activist for healthcare equity.
During her time in college, Naomi conducted research with the Genome Sciences Department on congenital contracture syndromes as well as with Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital on molecular targets for lung cancer and real-time tracking systems for the 2014 West Africa Ebola outbreak. After graduating she worked as a research technician at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, where she conducted genome wide CRISPR screen to identify potential drug targets to treat non-small-cell lung cancer. Throughout all these experiences, Naomi remained committed to her goal of advocating for minoritized students in STEM by serving as a research mentor for numerous pipeline programs, one of which she herself had been a participant of in the past.
Naomi is a strong advocate for service learning, diversifying medicine, centering anti-racism in medical education. She has published a paper in Academic Medicine that outlines how medical education today continues to perpetuate racial disparities in health and has been featured in NPR and several other media outlets for her continued advocacy work towards the elimination of race-based clinical practices. Naomi was named a 2021 Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans awardee in recognition of her work to combat race-based medicine.