Last year, Brandon Postoak served as the first osteopathic medicine liaison for the Association of Native American Medical Students (ANAMS). Now the third-year OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine student serves as the organization’s president-elect.
ANAMS is a national organization created to further the education and opportunities of current and future Native American medical and allied health students. It was developed under parent organization the Association of American Indian Physicians (AAIP).
When Postoak, an enrolled member of the Chickasaw Nation, started medical school he didn’t even know ANAMS existed.
“When I found out there were others like me, it was indeed a transformative moment,” he said. “Native Americans are poorly represented in medicine and other science-related careers and we wanted to come together and try to change that.”
Serving as the osteopathic liaison he was responsible for letting other osteopathic medical schools know about the ANAMS organization and its goals and mission. He also attended executive board meetings and heard about current challenges faced by members and what plans were underway to overcome those challenges.
“It was quite amazing to see the talents of other future Native American physicians from the around the country,” Postoak said.
Initially, he had no intention to run for the president-elect position, but he took inspiration from former ANAMS president Caleb Shahbandeh and current president Lakita Maulson and their ability to lead during last year’s AAIP Conference.
“They were able to bring unity among the attendees, and a strong sense of pride that I honestly hadn’t seen in a long time. I wanted to be in a position to recreate that,” he said. “The opportunity presented itself to run for president-elect and I knew I would regret it if I didn’t seize the moment.”
His goals as president-elect are to assist and support the current president in strengthening ANAMS, and acquire as much knowledge as possible about the organization, its future and how it can effect change.
Postoak also hosts a Native American Wellness Day that features cultural and health inspired events.
"I would love to broaden its impact and reach those students who need just a little bit of encouragement or support like I did. I hope to instill confidence in others the same way others have done for me. It merely took a small opportunity to change my life and I hope to provide that for my people."
In addition to serving as an ANAMS officer, and third year rotations, Postoak is father to two sons.
“It can be quite hectic. Sometimes I wish I could spend more time as a father and other times I wish I could do more as a student. I believe I have found a balance that will allow me to use my skills while also being a role model, not just to my sons, but for their friends and others,” he said.
Postoak said he’s proud to be a student at OSU-COM and represent the institution in ANAMS, and he’s also appreciative of the encouragement he’s received since beginning his journey into medicine.
“Five years ago, I couldn’t picture myself being in the roles I currently serve in. The support from family, friends and the OSU-COM community has allowed me to be where I am today,” he said. “I am genuinely grateful for everyone.”
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