The Zach Stamile, MD Native American Heritage Scholarship Fund

Zach Stamile was the kind of person you meet maybe once or twice in a lifetime and you never forget them.  He was gregarious and friendly, loud and irreverent, but loyal beyond reason and wicked smart.  Zach's work ethic and endurance were unmatched. His modest beginnings didn't seem to hinder him a bit, simply absorbing everything he could from his years in a small country school, then a small state college for his Bachelor's, and on to another state school for med school, funded at that point by Indian Health Service (IHS). 

Zach completed three years of Emergency Medicine residency at Orlando Health, then headed for Arizona to begin his service "payback" to Indian Health Service, his debt to IHS included four years of his professional life as a return on their investment in him.  They got their money's worth.  Zach's first position was in an Emergency Department on an Indian reservation in northern Arizona, a busy facility with limited resources in a remote but starkly beautiful location. His patients were almost exclusively Navajo and Hopi Indians, many living in poverty beyond anything Zach had ever imagined or with social problems that would challenge the most resilient. Zach took their plight to heart and he and his co-workers began trying to improve the care at his new facility. The challenges were obvious, large and small, but so were the victories. 

Zach eventually left his initial post and transferred to another reservation several hours away, this time with the Apache people.  They also had many improvements to be made in their system, and again, he and his co-workers worked unremittingly to provide excellent emergency care to their patients, but also digging deep with their ideas for enduring change. 

Zach died in 2022, at age 39. His sudden death left a cavernous void not only in his family and friends' hearts but also in his reservation's healthcare system. The silence of his absence has been painfully appreciated by many. 

This scholarship has been established in his name, not only to keep Zach's memory as a physician burning bright, but also to help lighten the load a little for those, like him, who are working diligently to make themselves not only excellent physicians but also leaders and compassionate instruments of change, wherever they should find themselves.

Zach's personal culture was a mixture of Native American and European blood, and he took pride in his background. There are surprisingly few physicians with a Native American heritage, thus, this scholarship will be dedicated to medical students of Native American background. Our hope is that Zach's work in helping other Native Americans, in one way or another, will continue. Zach would be proud of you.

About the clerkship:

Our clerkship experience features an active student-centric curriculum, with dedicated teaching residents each block. The teaching resident is a senior resident who guides, educates, and assists rotating medical students. Students are scheduled to work 15 8-hour clinical shifts. They will also participate in a simulation and procedure lab, receive hands-on ultrasound training, and have the option for one EMS ride-along under the direct supervision of an EMS fellowship-trained attending. Shifts are primarily in the adult Emergency Department at ORMC but do include several shifts in the Pediatric Emergency Department at Arnold Palmer Hospital, a level 1 pediatric trauma center. The Arnold Palmer Hospital is on the same campus as ORMC and requires no additional traveling.

To be eligible, students must be:

  • 4th year medical students in good standing at an accredited US medical school
  • Considered an Native American or Indigenous American heritage in medicine
  • US citizen or permanent resident
  • Available to do the 4-week elective between June and November of their 4th year of medical school