Chapter Leader: Sama Khan
Sama Khan serves as the NCCC Chapter Leader in Ann Arbor, Michigan. As a pre-medical undergraduate student at University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, Sama hopes to become an oncologist to not only aid in improving the early detection rate for cancer, but to also help establish personalized treatment plans for individuals with a cancer diagnosis.
Entering her first year of university, Sama was eager to become involved in cancer research. She began working on multiple colon cancer clinical research studies that aim to establish a blood test to detect the presence of colorectal cancer, limiting the use of invasive techniques and broadening accessibility to detection methods. Through her years of work on these studies as a Clinical Research Assistant with Michigan Medicine’s Department of Gastroenterology, Sama gained knowledge on the importance of early detection in colon cancer and ensuring individuals in under-resourced communities had access to testing.
Knowing how important early detection of cancer is through her research, when Sama learned that many women across the United States lacked access to free or low-cost cervical cancer screening, she felt passionate to take action in her local community. Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable cancers, and Sama works closely with clinics and small businesses throughout Ann Arbor to spread knowledge to her fellow community members on prevention testing such as pap tests and HPV tests.
She also arranges educational and fundraising events within the community, and is establishing a student organization in partnership with NCCC at the University of Michigan to raise awareness within the student body regarding cervical cancer prevention. Sama hopes that through her student organization, she will be able to educate her fellow undergraduate students on the importance of regular cervical cancer screening while also helping students become actively involved in fundraising for free cervical cancer screening and outreach opportunities for under-resourced communities.
Outside of her roles as the NCCC Ann Arbor Chapter Leader, leading her NCCC partnered student organization, and working as a Clinical Research Assistant, Sama is passionate about engaging in her student community and facilitating opportunities for pre-medical undergraduates to immerse themselves within healthcare. She is the co-director of M-STEP (Medical School Training and Exploration Program), in which Sama arranges events for undergraduate students to learn more about countless medical school programs by inviting medical school admission committees to speak to undergraduate students. Sama is also Head Chair of the Pre-Surgical Club Shadowing Committee at the University of Michigan, where she communicates with local physicians of various specialties and establishes shadowing opportunities for students to gain a broad mindset of the diverse range of specialties and practices in medicine.
Through consistent education on the importance of cervical cancer screening, alongside fundraising efforts to provide more free screening opportunities, Sama hopes to positively impact her Ann Arbor community, as well as increase the early detection rate and decrease the death rate due to cervical cancer across the United States.