A native of Stockton, California, Amy Komure recently graduated from the Keck School of Medicine with an M.D. and a master’s degree in public health. Her parents, a farmer and a social worker, have inspired her to show empathy and advocate for those who lack resources.

When Amy received a call notifying her that she was awarded the Tsutayo Ichioka Memorial Scholarship, she was ecstatic. The scholarship was named for Dr. Tsutayo Ichioka, who was the first Japanese American woman to attend USC’s medical school.

Dr. Ichioka was sent to the Gila River War Relocation Center during World War II. Despite being treated like a prisoner of war, Dr. Ichioka offered to practice medicine while at the internment camp, where she delivered dozens of babies.

“I am sure she must have crossed paths with many of my relatives who were also sent to Gila River,” Amy says.

“I often think about what I would say to Dr. Ichioka if I could have met her. She feels like a family member — someone I would hope to be if I had been born two generations earlier. I would like to thank her for taking the burden of being the first in a continuing line of Japanese American women and women of color at this school. I would also thank her for looking ahead to women like me who would follow an easier path without financial burdens because of her.”

Amy will be pursuing a residency in family medicine at the Long Beach Memorial Medical Center in the coming year.