Andrew Payne
Category: 2022 College Winner

Andrew Payne

First, let me say that I am very grateful to Regions Bank for offering a scholarship opportunity related to the topic of inspirational Black Americans. Embracing diversity and equality are critical for us to progress and continue to grow as a nation for the betterment of our world.

I am currently a sophomore at Indiana University located in Bloomington, Indiana. I am a pre-med major, with a minor in Spanish and Sociology. My desire and ultimate goal is to practice as a pediatric specialist at Riley Children’s Hospital.

I am inspired and in awe of many black physicians who have historically made remarkable gains and accomplishments in the field of medicine. These individuals should be praised and recognized for their efforts to make a difference in the lives of others. Scholarship opportunities like this one, help individuals like me, to truly research and recognize the value that Black Americans have had in a field of study that I am interested in. I am grateful to you for that.

One famous Black American physician speaks sincerely to my heart. Dr. Solomon Carter Fuller, born in 1872, attended Long Island College Medical School, and was the first Black American psychiatrist to research degenerative brain disorders. He worked closely with Dr. Alois Alzheimer while in medical school, and quickly became an expert in the school’s research division for Alzheimer’s disease.

I feel emotionally connected to Dr. Fuller, because my maternal grandmother passed away in March 2020 from this terrible disease. I watched as she began to decline, and eventually did not know who I was. As her grandson, this was painful to witness. Therefore, I am inspired by Dr. Fuller’s work in this field.

Dr. Fuller faced discrimination in the medical world because of the color of his skin. At the start of his career, he was often not allowed to fully participate in the research being performed. Instead, he was given the duty of performing autopsies. However, it was during these autopsies, that Dr. Fuller discovered many of the breakthrough scientific data regarding the degeneration of the human brain! He used the adverse event of discrimination, and turned it around for the benefit of humankind.

In 1903 Dr. Solomon Carter Fuller was one of five students chosen by Dr. Alois Alzheimer to conduct research at the royal psychiatric hospital at the University of Munich. He eventually attained the position of associate professor at the Boston University School of Medicine.

Dr. Fuller is an inspiration in the field of medicine. However, he along with many other black physicians, are only a few compared to the many black men and women who are subjected to discriminatory actions. In 1903 he became recognized for his work, but now in 2022, we still have so much work to do to combat discrimination. It is up to each individual, each one of us, to educate ourselves and to function at a level which embraces, recognizes, and promotes justice for Black Americans.