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The 2024 OSU D.O. Student Doctor of the Year and OSU-COM medical student Paul Delgado, works during her surgery rotation at the Cherokee Nation Outpatient Health Center in Tahlequah.
The 2024 OSU D.O. Student Doctor of the Year and OSU-COM medical student Paul Delgado, works during her surgery rotation at the Cherokee Nation Outpatient Health Center in Tahlequah.

Student Doctor of the Year always knew medicine was her future

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Media Contact: Sara Plummer | Communications Coordinator | 918-561-1282 |

OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine student Paul Delgado was just a child when she decided what she wanted to be when she grew up.

“I knew I wanted to be a doctor since I was about 6 years old,” Delgado said, and while many people’s childhood dreams change, hers never did. “I was living in Mexico, but I knew the best way to become a doctor was to move to the United States. At 13, I moved to Oklahoma without my family and decided to pursue my career in medicine.” 

Delgado, who was born in Oklahoma but moved with her mother to Mexico when she was a baby, remembers the challenges of coming to live with her aunt and being an eighth grader in a new school in a new country.

“It was difficult. I was a teenager; I didn’t speak the language. I knew my ABCs and I knew that I was going into medicine. So, there was always that purpose and that reason why,” she said.

Her ambitions didn’t wane with time, they only became more focused.

“It wasn’t until I was an undergrad that I realized that a lot of health disparities that exist in communities of color and rural communities in our state were the reasons why I was doing what I was doing,” she said. 

Her drive and passion for medicine and helping people are just some of the reasons Delgado was recently named the 2024 OSU D.O. Student Doctor of the Year.

“It was a big surprise, something that I’m very humbled by and I’m very honored to have received this year,” she said. 

Each year, every osteopathic medical school across the U.S. selects a student doctor of the year. At OSU, medical students are nominated and then a Student Government Association selection committee chooses the OSU D.O. Student Doctor of the Year. 

“It meant a lot to have received this award,” Delgado said, especially from her peers. “OSU-COM is my second home. I have a great support system with not just my classmates, but also with faculty and staff. I know that I could go to somebody if I was having a hard time academically or personally because OSU has my back.”

That commitment to caring for people in Oklahoma and teaching and implementing a holistic approach to medicine is why she chose to attend OSU-COM.

“When I think of medicine, it’s not just about going to the doctor and getting medications. It’s about knowing the social determinants of health among the people; the reasons why there’s so many barriers to access to care. And OSU does that. OSU does a great job training the future of medicine,” she said. 

OSU-COM’s mission to serve the rural and underserved people of Oklahoma aligns with Delgado’s passion to become a doctor.

“I’m a first-generation student, I’m part of the 6% of Latino Hispanic future physicians in the country. So for me, it means a lot that I’ll be able to give back to my community and also many other communities of color and rural communities in our state,” she said. 

As a third-year medical student, Delgado is currently in the middle of completing rotations in a variety of medical specialties and is loving it.

“First and second year in classrooms and labs were great, but being in the clinical setting, it’s a lot better. Just working with patients from family medicine to internal medicine to surgery — it’s what I’ve been learning to do for the past two years,” she said. “It keeps me grounded and reminds me of the reason why I went into medicine in the first place. I think just putting the concepts that I learned in the textbook to real-life experiences, it just makes it make sense.”

After graduation, Delgado plans to complete an internal medicine residency with the goal of going into cardiology — and hopefully not too far away.

“Oklahoma is home, so we’ll see what happens.”

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