Blair County Medical Society presents $2,500 scholarship

HARRISBURG — The Blair County Medical Society awarded a $2,500 scholarship to Mark Zaki, son of Irini Youssef of Hol-lidaysburg. Zaki attends Harvard Medical School in Boston, specializing in neurosurgery.

“During my undergraduate studies at University of Pittsburgh, I become fascinated by the medical science of the enigmatic brain. Roughly three pounds of Jell-O-like material control every sensation, every movement and every thought,” Zaki said.

During his early medical studies, Zaki became frustrated with areas that seemed to lack medical treatment in treating diseases such as multiple sclerosis and schizophrenia.

“I took this frustration to the lab, and under the mentorship of the chair of psychiatry at UPMC, I was able to identify a potential therapeutic target for patients with schizophrenia,” he said.

Zaki is also passionate about helping to educate patients at all socioeconomic levels. “In my essentials of medicine course at Harvard Medical School, I learned that ZIP codes are better predictors of health outcomes than their genetic codes. This exposed me to the importance of health care delivery, and its equally important role compared to health care discovery.

“To further this interest, I founded an organization called Mission Crimson where we offered one-on-one mentorship and health education to fifth- and sixth-grade students from low income and minority backgrounds in Boston,” he said.

This scholarship is made possible by a $50,000 contribution from the Blair County Medical Society, which established the fund within the foundation to assist local students with the cost of attending a U.S. medical school.

The foundation, a nonprofit affiliate of the Penn-sylvania Medical Society, sustains the future of medicine in Pennsylvania by providing programs that support medical education, physician health and excellence in practice. It has been helping to finance medical education for more than 60 years.

For more information about this scholarship or other scholarships, visit