Mereze Visagie Receives ACOFP Emerging Osteopathic Leader Award

Student Doctor Mereze Visagie shares details of her involvement with the North Carolina Society of Osteopathic Family Physicians and her recent receipt of Emerging Osteopathic Student Leader Award, a national award given out to three finalists by the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians.  The award includes a $2,500 scholarship.

Additionally, Mereze has been awarded the American Academy of Family Physicians Family Medicine Leads Scholarship from the Douglas and Mary Henley Fund and Campbell Medicine’s William F. Morris OMM Memorial Scholarship.

Congratulations, SD Visagie!

Name:  Mereze Visagie, DO Class of 2024

Hometown:  Born in Pretoria, South Africa and grew up in Waxhaw, North Carolina.

Undergraduate University:  Johns Hopkins University

What sparked your interest in family medicine?

Growing up as an immigrant in a small town in North Carolina, I witnessed the factors that contribute to rural health disparities firsthand which inspired me to strive to reduce these disparities going forward as a family medicine physician.  Starting my first year of medical school, I started volunteering at the Campbell University Mobile Clinic to help provide free health care to migrant farm workers.  I feel especially connected to this vulnerable patient population, as I remember what it was like to immigrate to America twenty-two years ago when I was also unable to speak English.  Working at the clinic has confirmed my passion for family medicine as it has allowed me to meet patients where they are at and form long term relationships.

In addition to caring for patients’ medical needs, I have been fortunate to utilize osteopathic manipulative medicine at the mobile clinic as an adjunct to help treat many chief complaints.  It is a passion of mine to educate patients I work with about osteopathic medicine as well as to provide osteopathic manipulative treatment for people of all backgrounds, no matter their financial status.  I want to seek a career in family medicine where I can utilize my osteopathic training to help patients increase their overall quality of life. 

How did you get involved with NCS-ACOFP?

As the elected Vice President of Family Medicine Club, I sought out the opportunity to serve as the student representative on the NCS-ACOFP executive board, so I could help shape the future of family medicine.  Working alongside primary care physicians throughout North Carolina, I was able to provide the medical student perspective to our monthly board meetings. Serving on the NCS-ACOFP board, has allowed me to be an advocate for family medicine in addition to improving the student experience, such as by implementing a student networking at our annual fall conference.

What does getting this award mean to you?

This award is invaluable to me as a medical student, because it validates all the hard work  I have put in this past year with my work with the NCS-ACOFP as well as Campbell Family Medicine Interest group.  Furthermore, my family and I are so grateful to the ACOFP for offsetting some of the cost of my medical education. My ACOFP experience has strengthened my desire to become an osteopathic family medicine physician with a goal of serving on the local and national level executive boards, so that I can continue to inspire the future generation as my local board has done for me.