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Naomi Nkinsi, a medical student at the UW School of Medicine, and public health student at the UW School of Public Health focusing on global health, is one of 30 winners of the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans.

This is a highly competitive fellowship looking for graduate students who are going to make the most significant contributions to society. Of the 2,445 applicants; 77 were chosen for final interviews. And just 1% of applicants receive the award. Winners receive up to $90,000.

As a medical student, Nkinsi learned about an algorithm for kidney function that gives Black people a different score based on their race. This algorithm makes it harder for Black people to get diagnosed with kidney disease sooner or be eligible for a kidney transplant. Nkinsi said this algorithm was not based on sound science, and when she heard about it in class, she was shocked. She challenged the algorithm, and it was ultimately removed from the medical school curriculum.

Some of Nkinsi’s other accomplishments include first place oral presentations at two national biomedical research conferences, a first place award at the National Human Genome Research Institute Annual Meeting, recognition as a Washington Research Foundation Distinguished Undergraduate Scholar and a scholarship from the Department of Biology at UW.

Nkinsi was born in Cameroon and her parents are from the Democratic Republic of Congo. She wants to work with children in a health system that works on the totality of a child, including community infrastructure, education, access to healthy nutritious foods and support for all the caregivers in that child’s life.

Learn more about Nkinsi and read the entire story on the UW Medicine Newsroom.