The Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP) National Alumni Advisory Board was created to advise the SHPEP National Program Office on enhancing alumni engagement, identify opportunities to reach the program’s target population, and overall program activities. The Board is comprised of 13 previous participants from the Medical Minority Education Program (MMEP), Summer Medical Enrichment Program (SMEP), and the Summer Medical and Dental Education Program (SMDEP).

The Alumni Advisory Board holds bimonthly conference calls and convenes annually in conjunction with the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) annual meeting or the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) annual meeting.

If you have questions or suggestions for the board, please submit them to

Advisory Board Members


Tamana (Bunny) Begay, D.D.S., is a member of the SHPEP National Adivsory Committee. Dr. Begay is of Navajo, Seneca, and Mohawk descent and was raised in Portland, Ore., with summers spent on the Northern Navajo reservation.Dr. Begay began her college career at San Diego Mesa Community College and then transferred to the University of California, San Diego, Revelle College. She graduated in 1999 with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and minors in art history and psychology.
In 1999, Dr. Begay enrolled in the University of San Francisco School of Dentistry’s post-baccalaureate program. Following this program, she began her graduate studies t the University of the Pacific, Dugoni School of Dentistry, in San Francisco. After earning her D.D.S. in 2003, she began working with the Indian Health Service. She now works as a general dentist at the Phoenix Indian Medical Center.
Dr. Begay is involved in several local and national organizations promoting American Indian/Alaska Native students into higher education and professional careers.

Lutul D. Farrow, M.D., attended MMEP in 1996 at Case Western Reserve University. Dr. Farrow is an associate staff physician at the Orthopaedic and Rheumatologic Institute at Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio. He is a member of the Cleveland Clinic Sports Health Center.

Dr. Farrow earned his medical degree at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. He completed his orthopedic surgery residency at Case Western Reserve University, University Hospitals Case Medical Center. Dr. Farrow completed a fellowship in sports medicine and arthroscopy at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio. He is board-certified in orthopedic surgery and is a diplomate of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery.
Dr. Farrow serves as an assistant team physician with the NFL Cleveland Browns and as head team physician at Brunswick High School.

Isaac Freeborn, M.D., attended MMEP in 1998 at Case Western Reserve University. In 2000, while attending Medical College of Ohio, he served as an MMEP medical student facilitator.

Dr. Freeborn was a National Health Service Corps scholarship recipient in 1999-2003. He completed his NHSC obligation in primary care in Lake Charles, La. In 2007, Dr. Freeborn completed his residency in internal medicine and pediatrics.

Today, Dr. Freeborn practices emergency medicine in Louisiana.

“While on the advisory board, I hope to grow connections with alumni with the intent of disseminating knowledge of SHPEP to universities that have not made the information available to current students.”

Chelsea HooperChelsea Hooper attended SMDEP in 2013 at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, TX. She is recent graduate of Baylor University in Waco, TX and will begin her first year of dental school at Texas A&M- Baylor College of Dentistry in August 2015.

“SMDEP was one of the greatest experiences of my undergraduate career. Every element of the SMDEP program is oriented to assist and offer insight on being a student in a pre-health professional school. As a SMDEP Scholar, I gained study skills, budgeting/ financing tools, and cultural competence in addition to a solid foundation of science prerequisites. These classes and informational sessions from my SMDEP experience have served as an immense help in applying for and now entering the healthcare profession. The fact that it is of no cost to its participants is just icing on the cake!”



DeniseAdamsDenise Martinez, M.D., attended MMEP in 2002 at the University of Washington. Dr. Martinez completed her residency in family medicine at the University of Iowa. She serves as the interim associate dean of the Carver College of Medicine Office of Cultural Affairs and Diversity Initiatives. She is also a faculty member and clinician in the department of family medicine.

As an undergraduate at Seattle Pacific University, Dr. Martinez served as a multicultural senator and student body executive director of intercultural affairs. During her medical school training at Tufts University, she served as a member of the university culture team and was president of the school’s Student National Medical Association. Her professional interests include cultural competence education, chronic disease management, and women’s health/obstetrics.


Shyheme McElroyShyheme McElroy attended SMDEP at the University of Washington site the summer of 2014.

Currently Shyheme is studying Biology at the University of Iowa, but in the future he hopes to become a dental professional.

“SMDEP was not just a program for me. It was an experience, one that I will never forget. It allowed me to interact with other individuals who also possessed the same passion and drive that I have. It was refreshing to see that I was finally not alone on my journey to make it into the healthcare professions. As a member of the alumni board, I want to help with the recruitment of other students, so that they are also able to experience this sense of community. I also hope to reinforce the already existing SMDEP and MMEP community by uniting those who have participated in these programs, thus further strengthening our growing family.”

Karen Morris-Priester, M.D., attended MMEP in 2001 at Yale University and later graduated from Yale University Medical School in 2007. She is an anesthesiologist practicing in Allentown, Penn. Dr. Morris-Priester gained national attention in 2007 when she appeared as a guest on the “Oprah Winfrey Show,” where Ms. Winfrey recognized her for completing medical school as a single mother of five children and as the first grandmother to attend Yale School of Medicine.

Since then, Dr. Morris-Priester has traveled the country as a motivational speaker encouraging her audiences to follow their dreams. She also acts as a mentor to young people who aspire to become physicians. She hopes to use her time on the advisory committee to develop a process that will allow  alumni to reach back to assist current participants in their journey to becoming doctors.

Oscar Paniagua-Morales-HeadshotOscar Paniagua-Morales attended SMDEP in 2011 at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Mr. Paniagua-Morales’ interest in medicine grew out of his personal experience with kidney disease. In 2004, he lost his kidneys and underwent four years of dialysis. In 2008, he received a kidney transplant donated by his brother. Four weeks later, Mr. Paniagua-Morales enrolled in Colorada Mesa University.

In 2012, Mr. Paniagua-Morales was accepted into the prestigious Dialysis Clinic, Inc., Collegiate Medical Summer Internship Program. At the start of the program, he will work as a counselor in a summer camp with children who are on dialysis or have had kidney transplants.

“I feel very lucky to have been chosen for this internship, because there are only 16 to 18 students chosen every year from all over the United States.

My goal as a member of the SHPEP national advisory board is to work together as a team with the other board members and tackle the important issues that can make SHPEP stronger every year. I also want to help recruit students from disadvantaged backgrounds who may be thinking of pursuing careers in health care but don’t necessarily have the tools needed to reach their goals. Additionally, I want to help the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation reach its vision of improving health and health care in the United States. I feel honored to have been chosen as a board member.”

Sherket PetersonSherket Peterson, Ph.D., attended MMEP in 2002 at Duke University.

Ms. Peterson received her Ph.D in Pharmaceutical Science from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

“This intensive six-week program provided me with a realistic view into the field of medicine and gave me insight into possible careers for the future. The clinical experiences and academic enrichment helped me to pinpoint my interest in drug discovery and scientific research. Through my service as an alumni national advisory board member, I look forward to enhancing alumni engagement and increasing awareness about the multitude of medical careers available to outstanding students.”


Jesus Rosado, M.D. attended SMDEP in 2007 at UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical and New Jersey Dental Medicine now Rutgers School of Medicine and Rutgers School of Dental Medicine.

“I graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2010. I am currently a Surgical Resident at Rutgers School of Medicine formerly  UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School, the very place I participated in SMDEP.”

“As a Hispanic male from an underprivileged background who thought a career in medicine would be far out of my reach, I have never been more grateful for the opportunities that SMDEP has provided me with.

As a member of the inaugural alumni board, I hope to be able to form a strong alumni network to help the new generations of SHPEP alumni as well as further grow the goals of the SHPEP program by reaching more students and showing them that their goals are achievable.”

Andy Tang Andy Tangattended SMDEP at the University of Washington in 2010.  He is currently a Research Scientist in the Department of Radiology, Body Imaging Section at UW Medicine where he participates in oncologic imaging research and provides tumor response assessments for patients enrolled in clinical trials.

“My personal commitment to serve on the SHPEP National Advisory Alumni Board is grounded in the belief of improving the health and well being of medically underserved patients and communities. Our pursuit of this goal may be met by establishing a culture of health through the alignment of a diverse, inclusive, inter-professional team that informs and improves high quality patient, family, and community centered care. As such, I believe the educational pipeline through SHPEP and engagement of our alumni is critical to achieving this goal. Serving on the Alumni Board propagates my passion of reducing health and health care disparities, ensuring that the doors to medicine are wide open to those marginalized and those working towards reducing health and social inequities in health care delivery systems.”

Amy TranAmy Tran attended SMDEP in 2010 at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. In 2012, she graduated from Rutgers University with a major in cell biology and neuroscience and minors in sociology and nutrition. Amy is currently in her third year at Rutgers School of Dental Medicine.

“Because of my participation in the SMDEP program, I was able to receive invaluable guidance, networking opportunities, and resources that prepared me for dental school. I am truly grateful for the experience and hope to contribute back as an alumnus. Being on the National Advisory Board is an honor, and I look forward to working toward our new vision, especially in alumni engagement and improving SHPEP program experiences.”



Jazmin Villavicencio attended SMDEP in 2008 at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Ms. Villavicencio graduated in 2011 from the University of Arizona with a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies with an emphasis in public health, Mexican-American studies, and Spanish.

She works at the Pima County Health Department as the healthy lifestyles specialist. She promotes healthy lifestyles for the urban Indian community through activities addressing substance abuse prevention, commercial tobacco cessation, health promotion, mental health, and immunizations.

Ms. Villavicencio is excited to be a member of the SHPEP National Alumni Advisory Board and hopes to be a voice for many other alumni who have participated in this great program.


Colette Williams attended SMDEP in 2013 at Columbia University. She is currently a junior at Lehman College in the Bronx, New York and plans to attend medical school upon graduation. She is a member of the Lehman Scholars Program and is also a McNair Scholar. Ms. Williams is proud to be on the SHPEP Alumni Board where she can help support fellow undergraduates and graduate students on their paths to medical and dental school. She wants to work to continue a program that allows these students to be surrounded by like-minded individuals