Osmosis News

How Osmosis Scholarship Winner Grace Benmhend "Starts With the Heart"

Osmosis Team
Published on Jun 7, 2020. Updated on Sep 15, 2020.

Applications for the Osmosis Health Education Impact Scholarship open tomorrow, June 8, 2020! If you’re thinking of applying, we recommend reading this interview with one of last year’s winners, Grace Benmhend, to get the wheels turning. Grace is a medical student at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine who just completed her second year. “Start with the Heart” is her chosen Osmosis value—read on to find how she plans to embody this into her clinical practice as a future doctor. Check out Grace’s full video on the Osmosis Health Education Impact Scholarship page, or scroll down to the bottom of the interview to watch it!

How did you hear about the Osmosis Health Education Impact Scholarship?

I use Osmosis for medical school, so I heard about this scholarship from your regular emails.

What was your application process like?

My application process was fairly smooth as I felt the questions to be straightforward and allowed me to touch upon some of my passions. The video was somewhat awkward to make to find the right spot and set everything up, but it was an interesting experience!


You chose “Start With the Heart” as the Osmosis value you identify with most strongly. If you had to choose another Osmosis Value, which one would you pick, and why?

Another Osmosis Value that I strongly identify with is "Open Your Arms." I feel that this is an incredibly important value to have as a physician, as it means practicing for everyone, not just a subsection of the population. We have a wonderfully diverse country and it's crucial to me that I serve people of all backgrounds during my practice.  

My passion, aside from practicing international medicine, is refugee healthcare. This population has definitely not been welcomed with open arms to this country, and they are continually given fewer benefits and services each year due to the current political climate. I have worked with many providers and faculty to open up a refugee clinic that provides completely free, basic medical services to the Tampa Bay community of refugees so that we may alleviate some of the burdens that this population must constantly face. I am thrilled to be opening my arms to these patients to help them create better lives for themselves in this country.

Osmosis illustration of the importance of diversity in medicine.

If you could do one thing different on your journey to Medical School, what would you change?

If I could do one thing differently on my journey to medical school, I would have worked less. During my undergraduate years, I worked part to full-time every year while balancing classes, volunteering, clubs, and research. I told myself it was necessary so I could avoid taking out loans, but this definitely impacted my schoolwork and my happiness during undergrad. While I would still definitely have worked while in school, I would have cut down my hours so I could have enjoyed other activities associated with undergrad. However, working did give me certain values that definitely helped me in my applications for medical school, like patience and time-management, so I have no regrets.

In your video, you talked about the stark differences in clinical care between the United States and Morocco. Can you talk a bit more about those? What can each healthcare system learn from the other?

Morocco is more of a developing country, and therefore has a healthcare system that is still developing as well. However, the majority of medical services offered in Morocco are free of charge, such as office visits, basic procedures, and most medications. This system has helped my family there immensely as it allows for one less expense that they have to worry about. I definitely think that if Morocco is capable of developing this system and caring for their citizens in this way, then the US can certainly allow for a similar system. In turn, Morocco can learn from the US about various medical procedures to do more intensive surgeries on patients who require it.

Osmosis illustration of Grace Benmhend helping an immigrant family in the clinic.

You aspire to a career in global health. What does that look like to you? What would you tell other medical students and future health professionals who might be interested in pursuing something similar?

For me, a career in global health means volunteering abroad while maintaining international medicine principles domestically. I wish to volunteer regularly with Doctors Without Borders and Partners in Health, particularly in the Middle East. This is not a paid position however, so I would spend the majority of my year at home working in a clinic. However, I can still perform services similar to global health at home by helping out some of the underserved members of our population like refugees and the homeless. Just as I do now, I plan to work regularly at free clinics and accept patients to my own clinic with discounted services in order to continue serving patients who cannot care as well for themselves.

How does it feel to have won the Osmosis Health Education Impact Scholarship? Anyone you want to shout-out or give thanks to?

It feels like a massive honor to have won the Osmosis Health Education Impact Scholarship. I am thrilled that my hard work and dedication in medical school have been recognized by Osmosis, and I am deeply grateful for their generosity. I would like to thank my incredible fiancé, who allows me to focus on school by constantly cleaning, cooking, taking care of our dog, and making sure I stay sane. I am also grateful to my parents who constantly support me and give me a place to come to when I'm overwhelmed and want to feel like a kid again. I deeply appreciate my wonderful support system, and would not be anywhere near medical school without all of them.

How has COVID-19 impacted your studies, and what advice do you have for students navigating these circumstances?

COVID-19 has not affected my studies too terribly, as I was supposed to be in my Step “quarantine” during this time anyways. I planned on studying at home for about 7 weeks straight anyways, so COVID-19 primarily only affected my studies by pushing my USMLE® Step 1 exam time back. My exam got postponed a month and then cancelled and moved to September and then moved back to June again, so it was occasionally stressful trying to study for an exam that I wasn’t certain when I would be taking. 

Osmosis illustration of Grace Behmhend experiencing the frustration of canceled board exams.

My advice during this time would be to remind yourself each day that you do not have control in this situation and to not let anxiety and stress overcome you. There are so many forces that are bigger than ourselves and worrying about trying to control them will lead to an unhappy existence. Focus on doing the best you can given the circumstances and taking control of what you can. In this time, I had to realize I didn’t have control over when the testing centers would open and when my exact date would be, but I did have control over how much I made myself study, focusing on living a healthy lifestyle during the quarantine, and ensuring I took time for myself to relax and be outdoors. When I was able to manage the factors in my life that I could and relinquish the stress of trying to control what I could not, I felt so much happier and I highly advise others to try to do the same.


About Grace

Grace is a second-year medical student at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine. She is originally from Gainesville, FL. She wants to specialize in family medicine with a fellowship in integrative medicine. When Grace is not studying, she is traveling, reading British classics, and playing with her dog, Frodo.

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Applications for the Osmosis Health Education Impact Scholarship are now open! As part of the process, we ask for a video telling us how you plan to embody one of the six Osmosis values in your clinical practice. You just might win one of six scholarships on offer: one $5,000 prize and five $1,000 scholarships are available. Visit our scholarship page for details.




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