Medical students Amanda Nemecek, Bailey Moran, Bassam Shawamreh, Forrest Wilke, Kayla Tennant, and Maggie Crouse have been accepted into the Fully Integrated Readiness for Service Training (FIRST) Program. The students were selected based on their commitment to the specialties of family medicine, pediatrics and psychiatry.
The UNC School of Medicine’s Fully Integrated Readiness for Service Training (FIRST) Program has accepted its eighth class. The FIRST Program was established in 2015 and provides participants the opportunity to complete their medical degree in three years, instead of four, and has a directed pathway into an affiliated North Carolina Residency program.
Following training, scholars will take part in three years of service in a rural and/or underserved area of North Carolina. They will receive ongoing support from UNC Department of Family Medicine in partnership with the NC Office of Rural Health.
Medical students Amanda Nemecek, Bailey Moran, Bassam Shawamreh, Forrest Wilke, Kayla Tennant and Maggie Crouse have been accepted into this year’s accelerated medical curriculum. These students were selected based on their commitment to the specialties of family medicine, pediatrics and psychiatry. The program expansion is supported by the American Medical Association Reimagining Residency Program.
“We are so excited to have these students join our FIRST Program,” said FIRST Program Director Catherine L Coe, MD. “They were selected because of their passion for caring for the underserved and commitment to their chosen specialties.”
These latest scholars will complete their medical school training in May 2025, enter residency, and begin practicing medicine in an underserved NC community as early as 2028, depending on the specialty.
Amanda Nemecek (Family Medicine) is a Raleigh native who graduated from Georgetown University in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in human science. She then worked for over two years as a medical scribe, where she was introduced to NC’s more rural patient populations. This experience, alongside previously volunteering with her university’s EMS organization, grew her desire to become a family medicine physician who addresses the physical and mental health needs of underserved patient populations while providing comprehensive patient education. Outside of medicine, she enjoys writing poetry and fiction, going on forest walks, and adding to her never-ending assortment of Spotify playlists.
Bailey Moran (Pediatrics) grew up in King, NC. He graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill after studying psychology and exercise & sports medicine. He obtained his EMT and AEMT and worked in EMS both during and after college. Growing up in a very rural setting, along with his EMS work, led to his desire to work in and serve rural communities.
Bassam Shawamreh (Psychiatry) studied biochemistry and neuroscience during his undergraduate education at Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa, NC, where he graduated summa cum laude. He has intense passion for working with underserved communities, including rural, low socioeconomic status, LGBTQIA+, and BIPOC, because of his personal connections with each of those communities. His family enjoys a humble homestead in Weaverville, NC, and he is excited to contribute to psychiatric healthcare in western North Carolina; a region that he calls home.
Forrest Wilke (Family Medicine) graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill and then worked as both a teacher and as director of curriculum for an education startup. He has worked in a number of underserved settings, which has led to a desire to give back to serve marginalized populations in North Carolina as a family medicine physician.
Kayla Tennant (Pediatrics) is a graduate of Queens University of Charlotte, where she earned a BS in biology and a BA in psychology in 2022. During her undergraduate career, she worked with pediatric patients with developmental/behavioral disorders, as well as children in medically underserved primary care and pediatric cardiac intensive care settings. She was also a three-time NCAA champion swimmer and a finalist for the 2022 NCAA Woman of the Year. A native of Lexington, North Carolina, she looks forward to being a pediatrician in her home state and an advocate for her patients and their families.
Maggie Crouse (Family Medicine) graduated from NC State with majors in nutrition science and Spanish. She then served for two years in an AmeriCorps Fellowship called Medserve, as a medical assistant and community health worker at a free clinic for uninsured patients in East Charlotte. She is passionate about preventative medicine and looks forward to learning more about how to serve underserved communities well and expand access to the care for all. Crouse lives with her husband in Durham and likes to take long walks on the American Tobacco Trail, enjoy time with friends, and cook.
For more information about the FIRST program, visit the website https://www.med.unc.edu/md/first/.